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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confusedlayman
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by confusedlayman »

Simon E. wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:36 am No one “chooses” the Vajrayana. If we don’t have the necessary karma- vipaka and punya the conditions will not arise for us to find it, or it to find us, in this lifetime.

It’s that simple.
what is so special in vajrayana?
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Simon E. »

Probably no one “chooses” Zen or Pureland or Theravada either. In the sense that if the conditions do not arise for us they won’t be found in this lifetime. That’s basic Buddhadharma.
“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 Grigoris »

SteRo wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:55 amIt's all just skillful means. But you are doing right to follow what resonates with you.
No, it is not all "skillful means", some stuff is definitive and some stuff is completely wrong.
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by tkp67 »

Malcolm wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:24 pm
tkp67 wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:23 pm
Malcolm wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:09 pm

I have no idea what you are trying to say.
It happens.
Mostly.
Here.

:anjali:
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Malcolm »

Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 4:26 pm
Bristollad wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 4:17 pm Just to add an interesting point: in the traditional Tibetan narrative, Shakyamuni Buddha is said to have not entered the Vajrayana path until he was a bodhisattva on the 10th Bhumi.
Of course. That's where Tantra starts, isn't it? "You fuse the path with the result," is the usual slogan.
This also in an Indian narrative. Not Tibetan.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Malcolm »

Caoimhghín wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:31 pm I'm suggesting that the rhetoric of tantric empowerment is that it is often described as starting with the abhiṣeka of the Buddhas of the ten directions that Mahāyāna practitioners are generally believed to receive at the 10th bhūmi and that the maṇḍala wherein it takes place is the akaniṣṭa ghanavyūha. I could be wrong though.
Well, the principle is certainly embraced, but the point is that empowerment is a special method taught by the Buddha for causing someone to ascend through the ten or 13 bhumis in the course of a single empowerment. If they fail to do that, then there is sadhana practices.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by jhanapeacock »

Simon E. wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:46 am
jhanapeacock wrote: Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:44 pm
Grigoris wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:10 am Karmic predisposition.

Anyway, how does somebody on the Vajrayana path know if they have (or have not) already spent 2.999999999999 incalculable eons worth of lives practicing Mahayana and this is their last life before Buddhahood? :shrug:
I think i read that if you were very far on the path you wouln`t even reborn as a human. Or something along those lines...
Which rules out The Buddha then. And the Dalai Lama. And Nagajuna. :smile:
Two of those are Nirmanakaya and the other was a first bhumi bodhisattva. So no contradiction.
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by FromTheEarth »

Malcolm wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:05 pm
It’s definitely true that the snapshot of Indian Buddhism that Tibetans took was later than the largely Central-Asian filtered Buddhism which had the most influence on Chinese Buddhism. But, for example, Zi yi’s interpretation of the four siddhantas owes nothing observable to Indian Buddhism, nor his fivefold division of Buddhist texts, etc. I personally think part of the reason for this difference between the two is that Chinese Buddhism suffered a severe setback in 845, when it was nearly completely purged from China, as did Tibetan Buddhism, with the assassination of Langdarma in 841. And the greatest flowering of Chinese Buddhist thought took place after the fall of the Guptas in 495. This 250 year period is arguably the high point in Classical Chinese Buddhism. At the same time, Indian Buddhism was on institutionally shaky ground, recovering from the invasion of the white Huns and under increasing pressure from hostile Hindu Kings; and during the last 100 years of this period, Central Asian Buddhism was being encroached upon by Muslims. By the 11th century, Buddhist text translation into Chinese was increasingly rare.

I would say that while Zhiyi certainly took inspiration from Indian sources, his exegetical methodology is unique, more like Huayen than Sanlun, for example.
I agree with the last point about methodology as there has never been a ground for proper Buddhist scholasticism in China, and the Chinese commentators struggled to put through their systems eventually (and more eagerly than their Tibetan colleagues when it comes to the problems arising from sutras). But first, let me just defend Zhiyi from the two specific ones you mentioned. Though modern scholars doubt the authorship of Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa, that commentary was traditionally attributed to Nagarjuna. Caoimhghín has suggested this above; but it seems clear that Zhiyi's talk about the four siddhantas was directly derived from this commentary.
Regarding the fivefold divisions, the specific way he divided the scriptures was surely his own. But the idea that Buddha's teachings contained several stages was a common theme in Mahayana scriptures; and that there was a somehow fivefold structure, a gradual development from Agama sutras to Mahayana sutras then to Prajna sutras then to the Mahaparinirvana sutra, has solid textual basis in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra (scroll 14).
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Malcolm »

FromTheEarth wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 1:00 am
Malcolm wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:05 pm
It’s definitely true that the snapshot of Indian Buddhism that Tibetans took was later than the largely Central-Asian filtered Buddhism which had the most influence on Chinese Buddhism. But, for example, Zi yi’s interpretation of the four siddhantas owes nothing observable to Indian Buddhism, nor his fivefold division of Buddhist texts, etc. I personally think part of the reason for this difference between the two is that Chinese Buddhism suffered a severe setback in 845, when it was nearly completely purged from China, as did Tibetan Buddhism, with the assassination of Langdarma in 841. And the greatest flowering of Chinese Buddhist thought took place after the fall of the Guptas in 495. This 250 year period is arguably the high point in Classical Chinese Buddhism. At the same time, Indian Buddhism was on institutionally shaky ground, recovering from the invasion of the white Huns and under increasing pressure from hostile Hindu Kings; and during the last 100 years of this period, Central Asian Buddhism was being encroached upon by Muslims. By the 11th century, Buddhist text translation into Chinese was increasingly rare.

I would say that while Zhiyi certainly took inspiration from Indian sources, his exegetical methodology is unique, more like Huayen than Sanlun, for example.
I agree with the last point about methodology as there has never been a ground for proper Buddhist scholasticism in China, and the Chinese commentators struggled to put through their systems eventually (and more eagerly than their Tibetan colleagues when it comes to the problems arising from sutras). But first, let me just defend Zhiyi from the two specific ones you mentioned. Though modern scholars doubt the authorship of Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa, that commentary was traditionally attributed to Nagarjuna. Caoimhghín has suggested this above; but it seems clear that Zhiyi's talk about the four siddhantas was directly derived from this commentary.


I have no reason to doubt Zhi Yi’s sincere faith in the Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa. There is zero chance that Nagarjuna composed this text, however. So my point still stands.

Regarding the fivefold divisions, the specific way he divided the scriptures was surely his own. But the idea that Buddha's teachings contained several stages was a common theme in Mahayana scriptures; and that there was a somehow fivefold structure, a gradual development from Agama sutras to Mahayana sutras then to Prajna sutras then to the Mahaparinirvana sutra, has solid textual basis in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra (scroll 14).
Indian Buddhists were completely unimpressed with Sutric Descriptions of different schemes and divisions of the sutras into time periods of the Buddha’s life. They betray very little interest in such claims. But Chinese Buddhists were very interested in such schemes, in trying to make sense of this foreign religion. The Tibetan Buddhist ideas about the three turnings [ rejected in Sakya, however] too are entirely dependent on Chinese Yogacara, not the Yogacarabhumi, etc.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by 明安 Myoan »

Karma.
And adapting to one's situation and resources.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

Reciting the Nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally give rise to the Three Minds and the Four Modes of Practice. -- Master Hōnen
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by FromTheEarth »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:16 am Indian Buddhists were completely unimpressed with Sutric Descriptions of different schemes and divisions of the sutras into time periods of the Buddha’s life. They betray very little interest in such claims. But Chinese Buddhists were very interested in such schemes, in trying to make sense of this foreign religion. The Tibetan Buddhist ideas about the three turnings [ rejected in Sakya, however] too are entirely dependent on Chinese Yogacara, not the Yogacarabhumi, etc.
If I am not bothering you (otherwise please feel free to ignore me), this, the first sentence above, again is a very strong claim.
We do not have much literature which reliably described how ordinary ancient Indian Buddhists practiced Buddhism. However, the production of the Mahayana sutras (from a secular scholarship point of view), and their dissemination, must indicate the "authors"/copiers/audience's strong interest in the major themes therewithin. Maybe some of those themes have less representation in the more prominent Buddhist scholars' works, which dominated the high-end, intellectual discourse. However, I won't doubt that, when they became circulated among ancient Indian Buddhists, some of those Mahayana sutras were often used to defend the authority of Mahayana, help figure out the relation between the Sravakayana doctrines and the revolutionary new ones, clarify the apparent contradictions among different teachings, etc. And those sutras (usually in a more accessible genre full of allegories and stories) formed the framework within which many, both monastic and lay, comprehended the Buddhadharma. (One example is that not many ancient Indian Buddhist scholars composed texts on tathagatagarbha or spoke of it very positively, in stark contrast with, say, the abundance of sutras that highlighted such theme. The latter should be indicative of the larger audience's interest due to the theme's soteriological significance).
My contention throughout has been that when you refer to "Indian Buddhists" and say they had little interest in A, B, and C, it should be clearly distinguished whether you mean most ancient Indian Buddhists or the scholars whose works survived today. A scholarly plausible view (just like when you challenged the traditional narrative of the authorship of the Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa) should press one toward the second option.
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Malcolm »

FromTheEarth wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 4:26 am
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:16 am Indian Buddhists were completely unimpressed with Sutric Descriptions of different schemes and divisions of the sutras into time periods of the Buddha’s life. They betray very little interest in such claims. But Chinese Buddhists were very interested in such schemes, in trying to make sense of this foreign religion. The Tibetan Buddhist ideas about the three turnings [ rejected in Sakya, however] too are entirely dependent on Chinese Yogacara, not the Yogacarabhumi, etc.
If I am not bothering you (otherwise please feel free to ignore me), this, the first sentence above, again is a very strong claim.
We do not have much literature which reliably described how ordinary ancient Indian Buddhists practiced Buddhism. However, the production of the Mahayana sutras (from a secular scholarship point of view), and their dissemination, must indicate the "authors"/copiers/audience's strong interest in the major themes therewithin. Maybe some of those themes have less representation in the more prominent Buddhist scholars' works, which dominated the high-end, intellectual discourse. However, I won't doubt that, when they became circulated among ancient Indian Buddhists, some of those Mahayana sutras were often used to defend the authority of Mahayana, help figure out the relation between the Sravakayana doctrines and the revolutionary new ones, clarify the apparent contradictions among different teachings, etc. And those sutras (usually in a more accessible genre full of allegories and stories) formed the framework within which many, both monastic and lay, comprehended the Buddhadharma. (One example is that not many ancient Indian Buddhist scholars composed text on tathagatagarbha or spoke of it very positively, in stark contrast with, say, the abundance of sutras that highlighted such theme. The latter should be indicative of the larger audience's interest due to the theme's soteriological significance).
My contention throughout has been that when you refer to "Indian Buddhists" and say they had little interest in A, B, and C, it should be clearly distinguished whether you mean most ancient Indian Buddhists or the scholars whose works survived today. A scholarly plausible view (just like when you challenged the traditional narrative of the authorship of the Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa) should press one toward the second option.
This is a bulletin board, not an academic forum. I do apologize, but I really do not have time to flesh out my opinions for you in the kind of detail you deserve. So you will just have to accept my broad strokes for what they are, broad strokes.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Anders »

Malcolm wrote: Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:47 pm No, it's isn't sectarian polemics at all. There are many upadesá lineages in common Mahāyāna, Chan/Zen is one of those.
What do you mean by "upadesha lineages" here?
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Anders »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:16 am
I have no reason to doubt Zhi Yi’s sincere faith in the Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa. There is zero chance that Nagarjuna composed this text, however. So my point still stands.
Are you also disputing that the work is Indian, and/or somehow not representative of Indian Madhyamika at its time of writing?
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Simon E. »

jhanapeacock wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:17 am
Simon E. wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:46 am
jhanapeacock wrote: Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:44 pm

I think i read that if you were very far on the path you wouln`t even reborn as a human. Or something along those lines...
Which rules out The Buddha then. And the Dalai Lama. And Nagajuna. :smile:
Two of those are Nirmanakaya and the other was a first bhumi bodhisattva. So no contradiction.
So you are assuming a variety of Buddhist doceticism? A solution that poses more problems than it solves.
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by jmlee369 »

Varis wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:44 pm
Dan74 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:15 am Who actually practices Sutrayana, as understood by the Tibetan Buddhists?
There is one Lama, I forget his name but someone might know, who doesn't teach tantra. AFAIK his reasoning is that he believes the times are too degenerate to even practice tantra.

And I believe Garchen Rinpoche said there were Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas in Tibet at the time of the revolution. So, there's that too.
I believe that one lama you are thinking of is Shamar Rinpoche. His Bodhi Path centres focus mostly on mind training (lojong) practice, with some individuals pursuing tantric practices as well. Shamar Rinpoche published a statement addressing this:
This brings me to the subject of the second question. After observing this movement for 30 years, my conclusion is that Vajrayana is not really suitable for most people in both the West and in Asia, including Tibet. You cannot generalize, of course. There are certainly exceptions, but in most cases it is not suitable. Since sex is taught as the main core of tantric practice in the West and this does not benefit anyone, (then) what is generally practiced as Tantra in the West is based on a big misunderstanding.

I have paid close attention to the kinds of qualities required to ensure the suitability of tantric practice for particular people. It depends on the three factors of cause, condition and effect. The cause: people who have some karmic connection to it. Though one may be in a lower human life, some deep karma is the cause of one's connection to Vajrayana practice. The condition: the conditions conducive to tantric practice are, generally, that one belongs to a society that is in nature quite aggressive and one must be filled with emotions. The effect: though one lives in bad conditions, in other words the afflictions are stronger, at the same time one has strong willpower to struggle against hardships. Therefore tantra was very suitable during the middle ages in Asia. For example, it flourished at a time in India when people became more aggressive and suffered from more afflictions. It also remained suitable until around the 14th century in Tibet and the Himalayas.

I think that nowadays the Bodhisattvayana with a high level of meditation is most suitable for the majority of people. That is why I organized Bodhi Path Centers to combine Atisha’s Kadampa lineage with Mahamudra meditation in Gampopa’s tradition.
[...]
The suitability of particular practices and lifestyles is dependent on the era we live in and the nature of the society we live in. Whatever is the most suitable method for transforming people is the highest yana (vehicle). Likewise, what is suitable for fewer people is the middle yana, and what is suitable for very few people is the lowest or so-called hina-yana. All methods for attaining enlightenment were given by the Buddha, but the one most suitable for your development as it is taught to you by a master is the supreme yana. Therefore the curriculum in my Bodhi Path Centers is based on the suitability for people today. While some Vajrayana practice is of course alright, like Chenrezik practice, for example, for the most part I recommend that practitioners concentrate on avoiding the ten non-virtuous actions, keeping the bodhisattva attitude, and learning the levels of mindfulness.
Shamar Rinpoche's statement was discussed previously in this thread.
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.
Hasn't the exoteric/esoteric (顯/密) division been used in East Asia since the Tang dynasty?

Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:15 pm Yeah, Shingon has it too.

It's kind of like if Tendai practitioners went around insisting that everyone not practicing Tendai Buddhism was on one of the 40-something preparatory bhūmis. No one else believes in 50+ bhūmis. No one else practices "on" those bhūmis.
I thought the 52 stages scheme was from the Bodhisattva keyūra mūla karma sūtra? The Avatamsaka Sutra itself teaches the 40 something stages, Fazang also adapted the Keyura sutra's scheme, and then there's the Shurangama's 57 stages?.
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Astus »

jmlee369 wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:58 amHasn't the exoteric/esoteric (顯/密) division been used in East Asia since the Tang dynasty?
On what was called secret/esoteric, see: Is there really "Esoteric" Buddhism? by Richard D McBride
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Malcolm »

Anders wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:02 am
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:16 am
I have no reason to doubt Zhi Yi’s sincere faith in the Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa. There is zero chance that Nagarjuna composed this text, however. So my point still stands.
Are you also disputing that the work is Indian, and/or somehow not representative of Indian Madhyamika at its time of writing?
I am disputing its authorship.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by jhanapeacock »

Simon E. wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:03 am
jhanapeacock wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:17 am
Simon E. wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:46 am

Which rules out The Buddha then. And the Dalai Lama. And Nagajuna. :smile:
Two of those are Nirmanakaya and the other was a first bhumi bodhisattva. So no contradiction.
So you are assuming a variety of Buddhist doceticism? A solution that poses more problems than it solves.
Yes. Because that is what Mahayana preaches. What is your point? Anyway, we may ask Malcolm, he was the one who wrote that in first place.
if one accepts Mahāyāna, one accepts that in order to attain buddhahood according to the common Mahāyāna path, one must traverse five paths and the ten bodhisattvas stages for a minimum of ten incalculable eons.

On the three pure stages, one no longer resides in the desire realm, but in various form realm heavens, as well as the buddhafield of Ghanavyuha.
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Caoimhghín »

Bristollad wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:46 pm
Caoimhghín wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:31 pm
Bristollad wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:20 pm are you suggesting all the tantric practitioners on here are necessarily bodhisattvas on the 10th bhumi of the path of meditation?
:rolling:
I'm suggesting that the rhetoric of tantric empowerment is that it is often described as starting with the abhiṣeka of the Buddhas of the ten directions that Mahāyāna practitioners are generally believed to receive at the 10th bhūmi and that the maṇḍala wherein it takes place is the akaniṣṭa ghanavyūha. I could be wrong though.
Malcolm wrote: Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:10 pm

Well, Vajrayāna is called the result vehicle, because it takes the result as the path. When one enters into any mandala, one is entering into the mandala of Ākaniṣṭa Ghanavyūha (not gaṇḍavyuha, common error here), and one receives the empowerment there, from the guru who embodies the buddhas of the ten directions.
But just because "it is often described as starting with the abhiṣeka of the Buddhas of the ten directions that Mahāyāna practitioners are generally believed to receive at the 10th bhūmi" doesn't mean that a tantric practitioner is necessarily a bodhisattva on the 10th bhumi. If that were the case, the rhetoric of tantra being a swifter path wouldn't make much sense - one would have already completed 3 countless aeons of merit gathering the same as the Perfection vehicle.
"Is often described" was simply me being humble. I can take it back if it caused confusion.

So we're dealing with different assignments of the "tathāgatabhūmi," which as I understand some Tantrikas place at an "11th" station, 10th-stage bhūmikas being merely bodhisattvas. So when I say "the abhiṣeka of the Buddhas of the ten directions that Mahāyāna practitioners [...] receive at the 10th bhūmi" I am talking about what you might consider the 11th bhūmi. We can just discard this "specific enumeration of bhūmi" business as well, since it's causing problems. 11th, 10th aside, we're talking "samyaksaṁbuddhatva," and that's what's important, "(complete) Buddhahood-in-this-life," not "the irreversible grounds," not "śrāvakabuddhatva," etc. Otherwise, Vajrayāna just a free-for-all redefining of terms from Mahāyāna. And yes, I'm fully aware that there are contingency plans for when practitioners receive this abhiṣeka and it's evident that nothing important has really happened and no realization has accompanied their empowerment. The point is, if you need your sadhāna to facilitate your accumulations, then you never actually received the abhiṣeka of the Buddhas of the ten directions in the first place. They don't hand those out to just anyone.
jmlee369 wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:58 am I thought the 52 stages scheme was from the Bodhisattva keyūra mūla karma sūtra? The Avatamsaka Sutra itself teaches the 40 something stages, Fazang also adapted the Keyura sutra's scheme, and then there's the Shurangama's 57 stages?.
50+ bhūmi schemata show up in Shugendō and Daoist-Buddhist hybrid scriptures as well. I've never read the Keyūrasūtra, and I can't find that much about it. I certainly wouldn't want to call it apocryphal, not knowing that for sure, but it wouldn't surprise me. Talking about the Śūraṅgama, do you mean the Indian Śūraṅgamasamādhisūtra or the Chinese Śūraṅgama?

The Buddhāvataṁsaka supposedly lays out the 52 bodhisattva stages, but then once you get to its nested Daśabhūmikasūtra, there are only 10. I've never read the bulk of the Buddhāvataṁsaka. It's just too massive. Supposedly, chapters 15, 21, 22, 25, and 26 lay out grounds 1-40 in successive enumerations of ten bhūmis. I think the Indian tradition was that all of these lists of 10 bhūmis are the same 10 bhūmis, but I'm not actually sure there, so I'd need to read a bit. Am I going to be jumped on for daring to admit that I'm not sure of something? We'll find out next time on DharmaWheel!
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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