Mahayana vs Theravada

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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nyonchung
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by nyonchung »

"Theravadin Abbot who is teaching Dzogchen."
Why not? but name please, and got transmission from where?
"Me and the sky don't hold views - Me and the river have no fixed practice
Me and the madman don't have a guide- Me and the rainbow have no experiences
Me, the sun and the moon have no certitudes - Me and the jewel bear no fruit" - Dampa Sanggyé as quoted by Domar Mingyur Dorjé (born 1675)
Kai lord
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by Kai lord »

Being a bodhisattva or Arhat, isn't about the order or schools you originate, its all about your inner intention and vows.

There are Theravadins who practice bodhisatta path. Uncommon but they are there. It was believed by Theravadins that certain kings of Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand were Bodhisattas.

The famous yogacarin, Dharmapala's teacher. Dharmamitri was from Mulasarvastivada order but he practiced vajrayana in secret.

Abhayagiri vihāra were esoteric Theravadins who practiced Vajrayana before they were wiped out. Monument testament to their influence, still can be found in Indonesia.
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by Giovanni »

nyonchung wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 12:27 pm "Theravadin Abbot who is teaching Dzogchen."
Why not? but name please, and got transmission from where?
Ajahn Amaro. Tsoknyi Rinpoche.
Malcolm
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by Malcolm »

Giovanni wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:56 am Some senior Dzogchen teachers known to me have been studying with a Theravadin Abbot who is teaching Dzogchen.
The Bodhisattva and Arhat models are seen as upaya rather than ontological realities. This may be a way that Buddhadharma developes in the West.
Of course they are methods, and the methods of arhats and bodhisattvas could not be more different since their motivation is utterly different.

Without Mahāyāna motivation, there is no Dzogchen.
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by nyonchung »

Kai lord wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 1:05 pm Being a bodhisattva or Arhat, isn't about the order or schools you originate, its all about your inner intention and vows.

There are Theravadins who practice bodhisatta path. Uncommon but they are there. It was believed by Theravadins that certain kings of Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand were Bodhisattas.

The famous yogacarin, Dharmapala's teacher. Dharmamitri was from Mulasarvastivada order but he practiced vajrayana in secret.

Abhayagiri vihāra were esoteric Theravadins who practiced Vajrayana before they were wiped out. Monument testament to their influence, still can be found in Indonesia.
Simply said:
there is considerable archeological data, epigraphy, vernacular literatures etc.. and from Tibetan literature that Mahayana and Vajrayana were taught as late as XIIIth cent. in Sri Lanka, and even later in Burma (Arakan specially) and as far as the north of Thailand and Cambodia
Add a great part of what is now Indonesia
As for the great Dzogchen master Shri-singha, he was born to the South of China, possibly in Champa
Some Chinese Buddhist masters studied Mahayana in these areas
Note that this spread of Indian culture (from the South) included various art forms, sanskrit culture, and parallely the spread of Shaïvism, there are vey intersting tradition in the Tamil siddha literature on the subject

The idea of Theravada as the original form of Buddhism in Burma , Thaïland etc ... is certainly to be reconsidered
"Me and the sky don't hold views - Me and the river have no fixed practice
Me and the madman don't have a guide- Me and the rainbow have no experiences
Me, the sun and the moon have no certitudes - Me and the jewel bear no fruit" - Dampa Sanggyé as quoted by Domar Mingyur Dorjé (born 1675)
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by Malcolm »

nyonchung wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:13 pm As for the great Dzogchen master Shri-singha, he was born to the South of China, possibly in Champa
Unlikely. The only source for this idea is the 12th century snying thig account, the lo rgyus chen mo. This finds no confirmation in the sems sde or klong sde histories.
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by nyonchung »

Malcolm wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:33 pm
nyonchung wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:13 pm As for the great Dzogchen master Shri-singha, he was born to the South of China, possibly in Champa
Unlikely. The only source for this idea is the 12th century snying thig account, the lo rgyus chen mo. This finds no confirmation in the sems sde or klong sde histories.
This is the source, what is your take?
Sounds anyway possible, providing that the original version hasn't been reworked later, and this is of course 4 centuries later, a long gap, and at each copy of a ms. the Indian or "foreign" names can take a new form (this is the case even for Tibetan places and clans' names), intertpolations abound ...
For instance, try to compare accounts about Tilopa and Naropa in multiple chos 'byung of various periods ...

Wathever, there is a strong presence of Indian culture for over10 centuries in these areas of massive trade (so goods but also ideas are exchanged), including the settlement of brahmin, kayashtha families (traders of course, certainly artists) - mostly Shaïva and Mahayana
Last edited by nyonchung on Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Me and the sky don't hold views - Me and the river have no fixed practice
Me and the madman don't have a guide- Me and the rainbow have no experiences
Me, the sun and the moon have no certitudes - Me and the jewel bear no fruit" - Dampa Sanggyé as quoted by Domar Mingyur Dorjé (born 1675)
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by Kai lord »

nyonchung wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:13 pm
Kai lord wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 1:05 pm Being a bodhisattva or Arhat, isn't about the order or schools you originate, its all about your inner intention and vows.

There are Theravadins who practice bodhisatta path. Uncommon but they are there. It was believed by Theravadins that certain kings of Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand were Bodhisattas.

The famous yogacarin, Dharmapala's teacher. Dharmamitri was from Mulasarvastivada order but he practiced vajrayana in secret.

Abhayagiri vihāra were esoteric Theravadins who practiced Vajrayana before they were wiped out. Monument testament to their influence, still can be found in Indonesia.
Simply said:
there is considerable archeological data, epigraphy, vernacular literatures etc.. and from Tibetan literature that Mahayana and Vajrayana were taught as late as XIIIth cent. in Sri Lanka, and even later in Burma (Arakan specially) and as far as the north of Thailand and Cambodia
Add a great part of what is now Indonesia
As for the great Dzogchen master Shri-singha, he was born to the South of China, possibly in Champa
Some Chinese Buddhist masters studied Mahayana in these areas
Note that this spread of Indian culture (from the South) included various art forms, sanskrit culture, and parallely the spread of Shaïvism, there are vey intersting tradition in the Tamil siddha literature on the subject
Atisha, in his chronicles, said that he traveled to sumatra, second largest island in modern day Indonesia during 10th to 11th century, so translation to vajrayana might occur earlier over there.

I have no idea whether Sri Singha was a chinese or not but I always have this impression that he lived and born near ancient China in regions that might be parts of present day China. So he might be a central Asian instead
The idea of Theravada as the original form of Buddhism in Burma , Thaïland etc ... is certainly to be reconsidered
I understand thats how they market themselves but it was only after third Buddhist council held by Asoka that they started to become a distinctive sect from the rest with the famous Kathavatthu written shortly after to criticize Sarvastivada and Vātsīputrīya. Even then, they stick with other schools/orders, Dharmaguptaka for quite a while before splintering further.

So Dharmaguptaka, Sarvastivada and Vātsīputrīya were at least as old as them if not older. All Buddhist sects claim to uphold the most orthodox or original teachings and demonstrate the true "middle path". :rolling:
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by Malcolm »

nyonchung wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:46 pm
This is the source, sounds anyway possible,
Its highly unlikely. Shri Singha's existence can be confirmed through a text by Manjuśrīkīrit, where one dPal gyi seng ge is mentioned as part of group of partisans who argue the creation stage is unnecessary, along with one dge slong ma dga' mo, etc.

Both the sems sde and klong sde chronicles locate him in Vajrāsana where he meets Vairocana.
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by Kai lord »

Malcolm wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:57 pm
nyonchung wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:46 pm
This is the source, sounds anyway possible,
Both the sems sde and klong sde chronicles locate him in Vajrāsana where he meets Vairocana.
So he was an Indian or Nepalis? Seem more likely since His name does not even sound remotely Chinese. :rolling:
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by nyonchung »

Malcolm wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:57 pm
nyonchung wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:46 pm
This is the source, sounds anyway possible,
Its highly unlikely. Shri Singha's existence can be confirmed through a text by Manjuśrīkīrit, where one dPal gyi seng ge is mentioned as part of group of partisans who argue the creation stage is unnecessary, along with one dge slong ma dga' mo, etc.

Both the sems sde and klong sde chronicles locate him in Vajrāsana where he meets Vairocana.
Again thanks for the clarification
What we will most certainly never now is how and why this story (certainly picked up somewhere and interpolated) had been added to the Vajrāsana part
Regards
Last edited by nyonchung on Thu Jun 23, 2022 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Me and the sky don't hold views - Me and the river have no fixed practice
Me and the madman don't have a guide- Me and the rainbow have no experiences
Me, the sun and the moon have no certitudes - Me and the jewel bear no fruit" - Dampa Sanggyé as quoted by Domar Mingyur Dorjé (born 1675)
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by nyonchung »

Kai lord wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 4:17 pm
Malcolm wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:57 pm
nyonchung wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:46 pm
This is the source, sounds anyway possible,
Both the sems sde and klong sde chronicles locate him in Vajrāsana where he meets Vairocana.
So he was an Indian or Nepalis? Seem more likely since His name does not even sound remotely Chinese. :rolling:
There would be nothing surprising, as I mentioned, there was a strong Indian diaspora along the sea routes and deep inland (Burma,Cambodia) along the land routes to China and sanskrit was a widespread cultural and religious language.
Champa in the North of Vietnam had still a few active shaïva temples (with pujaris) by 1900
All rulers, officials, priests (often of Indian origin) used sanskrit names in this huge area for centuries, thousend of stone inscriptions, copper plates, vernacular histories testify about this.
Tamil sources also confirms this (they even make of Laozi a student of a Shaïva master ...)
Still nowadays, there are Brahmin families in Bali, using skt. names
As for Nepal (i.e. Kathmandu valley) the dominant vernacular up to the XVIIIth cent. was Newar, a Tibeto-Burmese language, but recorded names are generally in sanskrit or in a sanskritic form. Indic chic.

Regards
"Me and the sky don't hold views - Me and the river have no fixed practice
Me and the madman don't have a guide- Me and the rainbow have no experiences
Me, the sun and the moon have no certitudes - Me and the jewel bear no fruit" - Dampa Sanggyé as quoted by Domar Mingyur Dorjé (born 1675)
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by Malcolm »

Kai lord wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 4:17 pm
Malcolm wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:57 pm
nyonchung wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:46 pm
This is the source, sounds anyway possible,
Both the sems sde and klong sde chronicles locate him in Vajrāsana where he meets Vairocana.
So he was an Indian or Nepalis? Seem more likely since His name does not even sound remotely Chinese. :rolling:
We don't know. We know for sure he was a contemporary of Trisrong Detsen. We know for sure that some of his associates are associated also with Padmasambhava. One can guess that those two ran in the same circles. We can be fairly confident that Vimalamitra was also his student, who arrived in Tibet around 800.

For example, there are three completely different accounts of the origin of Garab Dorje, with the sems sde and klong sde accounts being the closest, but also distinct.
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nyonchung
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by nyonchung »

Thanks again
For Garab Dorjé, I had the opportunity to check
One should remember that what we understand now as "biography" or even "hagiography" was not a concern then, and became one later (again the Sakyapas, Dragpa Gyeltsen of course, showed the path), possibly with the Mongol/Chinese influence after 1265 or so and the "officialisation" of Dharma - one should remind at this occassion the great tolerance shown by Drogön Phagpa, who held absolute and neved misused it - something exceptional

THrough biographies, one had to show his credentials, somehow (this is also the case for gdung rabs/ genealogies, I compared six versions of the sku zhang lce's one ... well...)
"Me and the sky don't hold views - Me and the river have no fixed practice
Me and the madman don't have a guide- Me and the rainbow have no experiences
Me, the sun and the moon have no certitudes - Me and the jewel bear no fruit" - Dampa Sanggyé as quoted by Domar Mingyur Dorjé (born 1675)
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by tobes »

Giovanni wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:56 am
tobes wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 7:27 am
Giovanni wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 6:08 am My words were “largely academic for most of us in this life”… :smile:
I don't think this changes my response at all; i.e. the point I'm trying to make is that the Arhat/Bodhisattva distinction strongly informs the kind of practices we do, well before we become close to either attainment. Ergo, it's not largely academic for most of us in this life - it's very practical.
I think that those distinctions are no longer as clear as they were once. All cultures now stand face to face. Some senior Dzogchen teachers known to me have been studying with a Theravadin Abbot who is teaching Dzogchen.
The Bodhisattva and Arhat models are seen as upaya rather than ontological realities. This may be a way that Buddhadharma developes in the West.
I celebrate this, and I agree that there are some big similarities even in method. For example, the Thai Forest refrain for meditative practice is a massive "Relaaaaaaax!"

Nonetheless, when I think about great Dzogchen masters such as Patrul Rinpoche or Dilgo Khyentse and examine their teachings, I see the centrality of relative bodhicitta to their entire path.....and I have never heard a Thai Forest teacher emphasize or even mention this. They are ultimately intending for nirvana.
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by Malcolm »

tobes wrote: Fri Jun 24, 2022 12:50 am
I celebrate this, and I agree that there are some big similarities even in method.
There are no similarities at all, not in view, meditation, conduct, not to mention result.
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by Konchog Thogme Jampa »

tobes wrote: Fri Jun 24, 2022 12:50 am

the Thai Forest refrain for meditative practice is a massive "Relaaaaaaax!"

Hardly

In Thai Forest you need to create the energy to burn away the afflictions which is intensive so you got that wrong
4. From each and every dear companion we will part.
We will leave possessions for which we've strived so hard.
The body's guest house the guest, consciousness, will lose.
To renounce this life is what bodhisattvas do.



དཀོན་མཆོག་ཐོགས་མེད་འབྱམས་པ

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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by Kim O'Hara »

Kai lord wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:47 pm ...So Dharmaguptaka, Sarvastivada and Vātsīputrīya were at least as old as them if not older. All Buddhist sects claim to uphold the most orthodox or original teachings and demonstrate the true "middle path". :rolling:
All Taoist sects claim to uphold the most orthodox or original teachings and demonstrate the True Way, too.
All Christian sects claim to uphold the most orthodox original teachings and uphold True Christianity, too.

But that's not a reason to :rolleye: or :rolling: but a perfectly reasonable way of looking at their chosen traditions. Each and every Christian church is descended via a direct and (usually) verifiable lineage from the so-early-it-had-not-split Church, each and every Taoist group can trace its lineage back until it is lost in the mists of time, and each and every Buddhist school can trace its teachings back to the historical Buddha.
If you're having trouble seeing how that's possible, visualise a river delta or a tree. Or do as I do, and see it as an evolutionary tree: you, your dog, your cow, and the mouse under your floorboards are all (equally validly and equally direct) descendants of a litle proto-mammal running around hiding from dinosaurs.

In every case, religious traditions have split and differentiated. Mostly for historical/geographical reasons, IMHO, in the case of Buddhism; mostly for good old-fashioned ego in the case of the other two, but with a fair mix of reasons in all three cases. Human history is like that - messy.

:namaste:
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by tobes »

Malcolm wrote: Fri Jun 24, 2022 1:40 am
tobes wrote: Fri Jun 24, 2022 12:50 am
I celebrate this, and I agree that there are some big similarities even in method.
There are no similarities at all, not in view, meditation, conduct, not to mention result.
"No similarities at all" is more than a bit extreme. Giovanni is saying they are commensurable and you are saying 0%. A bit of middle way is warranted.
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Re: Mahayana vs Theravada

Post by tobes »

Konchog Thogme Jampa wrote: Fri Jun 24, 2022 1:52 am
tobes wrote: Fri Jun 24, 2022 12:50 am

the Thai Forest refrain for meditative practice is a massive "Relaaaaaaax!"

Hardly

In Thai Forest you need to create the energy to burn away the afflictions which is intensive so you got that wrong
Well, those were the meditation instructions I heard. So maybe Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Brahm got that wrong??? :rolleye:
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