Bodhisattva's austerities in the Agamas; going naked, letting his grow etc.

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Astus
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Re: Bodhisattva's austerities in the Agamas; going naked, letting his grow etc.

Post by Astus »

Aemilius wrote: Thu Apr 14, 2022 8:42 amBecause the world knew and had heard about the ascetic Gautama, they expected that he might attain something one day. If he had just left the palace and walked to to the Bodhi-tree in his silken garments, wearing his golden ornaments, fresh like a flower from a warm bath, do you think he would have attained anything?
The Buddha wasn't famous because he practised for a short period self-mortification and got an emaciated body, and he himself said it was of no use for his subsequent attainment of liberation. Some people also knew him because he was a son of a ruler, but it doesn't mean we should all live a luxurious life.
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: Bodhisattva's austerities in the Agamas; going naked, letting his grow etc.

Post by Aemilius »

In Digha Nikaya 1.8, Kassapa Sihanada Sutta, Buddha speaks at length about various ascetics and their practices, where these practices lead to:

"`I have heard it said, O Gotama, thus: The Samana Gotama disparages all penance; verily he reviles and finds fault with every ascetic, with every one who lives a hard life. Now those, O Gotama, who said this, were they therein repeating Gotama's words, and not reporting him falsely? Are they announcing, as a minor tenet of his, a matter really following from his Dhamma (his system)? Is there nothing in this opinion of his, so put forward as wrapt up with his system, or as a corollary from it, that could meet with objection? For we would fain bring no false accusation against the venerable Gotama.'

3. `No, Kassapa. Those who said so were not following my words. On the contrary, they were reporting me falsely, and at variance with the fact.

`Herein, O Kassapa, I am wont to be aware, with vision bright and purified, seeing beyond what men can see, how some men given to asceticism, living a hard life, are reborn, on the dissolution of the body, after death, into some unhappy, fallen state of misery and woe; while others, living just so, are reborn into some happy state, or into a heavenly world, how some men given to asceticism, but living a life less hard, are equally reborn, on the dissolution of the body, after death into some unhappy, fallen state of misery and woe; while others, living just so, are reborn in some happy state, or into a heavenly world. How then could I, O Kassapa, who am thus aware, as they really are, of the states whence men have come, and whither they will go, as they pass away from one form of existence, and take shape in another, how could I disparage all penance; or bluntly revile and find fault with every ascetic, with every one who lives a life that is hard?"

....

https://www.greatwesternvehicle.org/pal ... index.html
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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Re: Bodhisattva's austerities in the Agamas; going naked, letting his grow etc.

Post by Virgo »

Malcolm wrote: Thu Apr 14, 2022 1:01 pm
Astus wrote: Thu Apr 14, 2022 7:55 am
Malcolm wrote: Wed Apr 13, 2022 10:23 pmMuch prefer the witches sabbath, getting naked in the moonlight, dancing around fires, broomsticks...
Uposatha and ganacakra are not exclusive, are they? (reminds me of this song)
:twothumbsup:
Recently watched War on Witches on Magellan TV. Definitely worth it.

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Re: Bodhisattva's austerities in the Agamas; going naked, letting his grow etc.

Post by Aemilius »

Astus wrote: Thu Apr 14, 2022 1:32 pm
Aemilius wrote: Thu Apr 14, 2022 8:42 amBecause the world knew and had heard about the ascetic Gautama, they expected that he might attain something one day. If he had just left the palace and walked to to the Bodhi-tree in his silken garments, wearing his golden ornaments, fresh like a flower from a warm bath, do you think he would have attained anything?
The Buddha wasn't famous because he practised for a short period self-mortification and got an emaciated body, and he himself said it was of no use for his subsequent attainment of liberation. Some people also knew him because he was a son of a ruler, but it doesn't mean we should all live a luxurious life.
Some books on the life of Gautama tell concerning the ascetism of Siddhartha: "For six long years he continued to undergo fasts and penances, until his body was so wasted that no one seeing him would have recognozed the noble Prince Siddhatha. But his fame as a saintly man spread aboard like a sound of a great bell hung in the sky, as the old stories tell us."

Found in The Story of the Buddha, Edith Holland, London 1923, reprint Delhi 2003.
Also mentioned in Who is the Buddha?, Sangharakshita, Windhorse 1994.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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Re: Bodhisattva's austerities in the Agamas; going naked, letting his grow etc.

Post by Astus »

Aemilius wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 8:53 amSome books on the life of Gautama tell concerning the ascetism of Siddhartha: "For six long years he continued to undergo fasts and penances, until his body was so wasted that no one seeing him would have recognozed the noble Prince Siddhatha. But his fame as a saintly man spread aboard like a sound of a great bell hung in the sky, as the old stories tell us."

Found in The Story of the Buddha, Edith Holland, London 1923, reprint Delhi 2003.
Also mentioned in Who is the Buddha?, Sangharakshita, Windhorse 1994.
A similar statement is found in the Chinese version of the Buddhacarita, that is a likely source of the above.

From Samuel Beal's translation published in 1883:
'His spirit free, his body light and refined, his name spreading far and wide, as 'highly gifted,' even as the moon when first produced, or as the Kumuda flower spreading out its sweetness; Everywhere thro’ the country his excellent fame extended; the daughters of the lord of the place both coming to see him'

And from Charles Willemen's translation (XII.80, BDK ed, p 89):
'His spirit was empty and his body was shrunken, but his famous virtue became widely renowned. It was like the opening up of a kumuda flower when the moon has just risen. His excellent fame spread all over the land. Men and women rivaled to come and see him.'

However, there's nothing like that in the Sanskrit version, as translated by E.B. Cowell in 1894. See the same section in chapter 12 from verse 89 here.

And the opposite image is given in the Lalitavistara:

'Those who passed by the Bodhisattva, such as village boys or girls, ox herders, cow herders, grass collectors, wood collectors, and those looking for dung, all thought he was a demon made of dust. They made fun of him and sprinkled him with dust.'
(The Play in Full, 17.44)
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: Bodhisattva's austerities in the Agamas; going naked, letting his grow etc.

Post by Aemilius »

There is or was a sutra passage which literally spoke about "a bell hung in the sky". I am quite sure it was in the pali scriptures. It has probably been lost now, because nobody has been referring to it lately or recently. Sutras/suttas do change, and they do disappear. There is no material universe "out there", that would be independent of the consciousness and karma of mankind. There is or was an old prophecy which said that in the future the text or letters will disappear from the sutras, only blank pages will be left.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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Re: Bodhisattva's austerities in the Agamas; going naked, letting his grow etc.

Post by Anders »

In the kammathana tradition, they uphold the tradition of eating only once day which I suppose you'd call 23 hour fasting (?).

You feel starving for the first week but after that I found it was fine. The worst part really was eating a big meal in the morning.
"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: Bodhisattva's austerities in the Agamas; going naked, letting his grow etc.

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

I have some Thai and Lao monk (Theravada) friends. They strictly observe not eating past noon. They do eat breakfast, and a pretty big lunch, which is always prepared for them by members of the local Lao/Thai community. I’ve known the head monk (Ahahn) for over 17 years. He looks remarkably just as he did when we first met. If you know the expression, “you haven’t aged a day” that’s him. Also very lucid and full of energy.
I think his dietary schedule has a lot to do with that.

My understanding is that (in Buddhist practice) the reason for occasional fasting such as Vajrayana practitioners would observe during a nyu-ney (short period of intense visualization practices lasting a few days), or following the vinaya rule of not eating after lunch, is mainly to reduce one’s attachment to needing to eat.

Food is basic to living. It’s more powerful than sex. (Thats why the Hari Krishnas and many Christian sects use feeding people as a way to convert others). Eating literally transforms the body and mind. It causes the release of endorphins and causes other physiological events to occur. You eat a good meal and listen to a sermon and it all comes together in your mind.

So, we have this built-in attachment, sort of like an addiction, a mental addiction to eating. “If I don’t eat, I’ll be hungry! If I stop eating, I will die!” But, maybe it is okay to feel a little hungry. Maybe it’s really okay to feel a little hungry and then developing the mental discipline to overcome that. This is not about starving or electrolytes or anything like that. It’s more about letting go of the attachment and fear associated with not eating.

Yeah, maybe you’ll feel hungry. And even, yeah, if you stop eating, you’ll die. So, this provides an opportunity to contemplate your own mortality. Theoretically, if one is perfecting non-attachment, one shouldn’t be afraid of death either. Of course, that’s not a realist expectation for the average lay-practitioner. Most of us are pretty attached to the idea of not dying! And most of us also like the pleasure of eating good food. Cooking is a big interest of mine. Especially various Asian cuisines.

I think, as with just about everything approached in Buddhist practice, fasting is regarded as a means, a tool, a method for letting go of self-cherishing and ego attachment. The idea of not eating immediately triggers self-attachment (self-preservation) and all of the anxieties and fears that come with it. That’s why fasting is a useful practice for laypeople and a daily practice for monks and nuns. But what the Buddha realized is that fasting, itself, isn’t the key to realization. Like everything else in the “middle way” it needs to be done in moderation.
EMPTIFUL.
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Re: Bodhisattva's austerities in the Agamas; going naked, letting his grow etc.

Post by Sādhaka »

Astus wrote: Wed Apr 13, 2022 9:45 pm
Sādhaka wrote: Wed Apr 13, 2022 5:11 pmfor the moment we can at least say that Buddhist & Bönpo monks (in all traditions as far as I’m aware) are usually doing intermittent-fasting for about 17-20 hours a day on average, and not usually eating anything after solar noon.
It is not called fasting but it is one of the precepts for monastics.

“Mendicants, I eat my food in one sitting per day. Doing so, I find that I’m healthy and well, nimble, strong, and living comfortably. You too should eat your food in one sitting per day. Doing so, you’ll find that you’re healthy and well, nimble, strong, and living comfortably.”
(MN 65)

It's a precept also observed by lay people during uposatha/sabbath:

‘As long as they live, the perfected ones eat in one part of the day, abstaining from eating at night and from food at the wrong time. I, too, for this day and night will eat in one part of the day, abstaining from eating at night and food at the wrong time. I will observe the sabbath by doing as the perfected ones do in this respect.’
(AN 3.70, AN 8.41)

Well in modern terminologies, people call it intermittent-fasting, or OMAD (One Meal A Day).
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Re: Bodhisattva's austerities in the Agamas; going naked, letting his grow etc.

Post by Aemilius »

Astus wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 12:02 pm
And the opposite image is given in the Lalitavistara:

'Those who passed by the Bodhisattva, such as village boys or girls, ox herders, cow herders, grass collectors, wood collectors, and those looking for dung, all thought he was a demon made of dust. They made fun of him and sprinkled him with dust.'
(The Play in Full, 17.44)
Lalitavistara sutra (Voice of the Buddha), The Seventeeth Chapter, The Practice of Austerities says also this:

"And those who excel in all things
the gods, asuras, nagas, yakshas and gandharvas
render homage day and night
to the one who possesses great virtues."
...

"Twelve complete niyutas of men and gods
become trained in the three vehicles.
For this reason does the one with the great mind
apply himself to Asphanaka contemplation."


It clearly says that the practice of austerieties had certain positive results. And that he was famous at least among nonhuman beings.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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Re: Bodhisattva's austerities in the Agamas; going naked, letting his grow etc.

Post by Dhammanando »

Aemilius wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 12:32 pm There is or was a sutra passage which literally spoke about "a bell hung in the sky". I am quite sure it was in the pali scriptures. It has probably been lost now, because nobody has been referring to it lately or recently.
The bell simile isn't in the Pali suttas, but it is found in a much later text, the Nidānakathā, which is the introductory part of the Jātaka commentary.
And the Bodhisatta recovered consciousness again, and stood up. And the devas went and told the king, “Your son, O king, is well.” And the king said: “I knew my son was not dead.”

And the Great Being’s six years’ penance became noised abroad, as when the sound of a great bell is heard in the sky. But he perceived that penance was not the way to wisdom; and begging through the villages and towns, he collected ordinary material food, and lived upon it. And the thirty-two signs of a Great Being appeared again upon him, and his body became fair in colour, like unto gold.
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/ ... a/000b.htm
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