How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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Boomerang
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How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by Boomerang »

There are a bunch of images and mantras and sutras that say you will be free of the lower realms forever just because you've seen or heard them. Does this really mean that if you hear Medicine Buddha's name or look at one of those little red and gold cards, you could become a serial killer and still never be reborn in the lower realms? If these things are really so powerful, you would think that everyone who has so much as heard HH The Dalai Lama's name or the mani mantra will never be reborn in the lower realms—a very large percentage of the Earth's population.

Is it really that easy to never be reborn in the lower realms? If it is, it would follow that every teaching about the lower realms is just a skillful means for generating compassion toward beings not of this world. You could chant the Akshobhya mantra to somebody, murder them, and rest assured that neither of you will suffer in the lower realms and always move toward Buddhahood.
M.G.
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by M.G. »

I tend to view these sorts of things as metaphors to remind people of the importance of dharmic symbolism.
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Boomerang
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by Boomerang »

The Sanghata Sutra sounds like it's trying really, really hard not to be interpreted as a metaphor. It goes like,

Sarvashura: Enlightened One, what is a sutra that will enable beings to purge all their negative karma just by hearing it?

Shakyamuni: It's good that you asked that, Sarvashura. A being who hears this Sanghata Sutra instantly collects more merit than a person who makes offerings to one hundred trillion tathagtas.

Murderer: I'm afraid of the karma I've accumulated from murdering my parents and destroying stupas.

Devas: Don't worry murderer. All of your karma has been purified now that you've heard a little bit of the Sanghata Sutra. Absolutely nothing matters as long as you have faith in this sutra.

I don't feel like the Liberation Upon Seeing dakini script from Mingyur Dorje was meant to be a visual metaphor either. It's just a picture of some strange symbols.
M.G.
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by M.G. »

I don't know, when I read language about "one hundred trillion tathagtas" I tend to think readers are being led away from precise statements of fact.

Ultimately, I think modern understandings of religion will differ from older forms. The Mahayana Sutras especially, with their cosmic visions and billions of world systems, seem more like myth and poetry to me than efforts to convey historical truths and literal understandings.

That said, if some of the symbols you've described have actual power in the manner of a mantra, that wouldn't totally surprise me either. Very often the language of myth and poetry is stylistically used to describe actual spiritual phenomena.
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Boomerang
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by Boomerang »

Those who see this script will not experience the three lower realms and will be liberated from the fear of falling into the lower realms; will be purified of the five poisons and will be freed from the results of ones karma; will be freed from the fear of remaining in samsara.

Terma Revelation by Terton Migyur Dorje, Given to Kunzang Palyul Chöling by H.H. Penor Rinpoche to be affixed to the Migyur Dorje Stupa and distributed as widely as possible for the benefit of all.
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明安 Myoan
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by 明安 Myoan »

The way I view it, especially with things like reciting "Amitabha" just once and never being reborn in the three lower realms, is that it's fruit on a tree.
You already have the roots and the trunk, i.e. the inconceivable workings of karma, merit, and assistance from virtuous beings, that have lead you to hearing this sutra or reciting a buddha's name.
These things don't happen as some isolated "self" events that work a miracle on the "self" of our delusion.
It's not that some words on a page produce a priceless pearl in your pocket out of thin air, or that you browse a website and suddenly the tree outside is covered in fruit.
The ill in Buddhism being ignorance, then being told where to find the pearl or the fruit directs us to what dispels the suffering born of ignorance.
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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Boomerang
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by Boomerang »

Monlam Tharchin wrote:The way I view it, especially with things like reciting "Amitabha" just once and never being reborn in the three lower realms, is that it's fruit on a tree.
You already have the roots and the trunk, i.e. the inconceivable workings of karma, merit, and assistance from virtuous beings, that have lead you to hearing this sutra or reciting a buddha's name.
These things don't happen as some isolated "self" events that work a miracle on the "self" of our delusion.
It's not that some words on a page produce a priceless pearl in your pocket out of thin air, or that you browse a website and suddenly the tree outside is covered in fruit.
The ill in Buddhism being ignorance, then being told where to find the pearl or the fruit directs us to what dispels the suffering born of ignorance.
If I decided to wear a shirt with Mingyur Dorje's terma and go kill a bunch of animals, would I be benefiting them? I would be ejecting them to higher births, right?

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M.G.
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by M.G. »

Boomerang wrote:
Monlam Tharchin wrote:The way I view it, especially with things like reciting "Amitabha" just once and never being reborn in the three lower realms, is that it's fruit on a tree.
You already have the roots and the trunk, i.e. the inconceivable workings of karma, merit, and assistance from virtuous beings, that have lead you to hearing this sutra or reciting a buddha's name.
These things don't happen as some isolated "self" events that work a miracle on the "self" of our delusion.
It's not that some words on a page produce a priceless pearl in your pocket out of thin air, or that you browse a website and suddenly the tree outside is covered in fruit.
The ill in Buddhism being ignorance, then being told where to find the pearl or the fruit directs us to what dispels the suffering born of ignorance.
If I decided to wear a shirt with Mingyur Dorje's terma and go kill a bunch of animals, would I be benefiting them? I would be ejecting them to higher births, right?

Image
I don't think a literalist reading is necessarily the best one here.

There are Buddhist wealth deity practices in which wonderfully flowery language promises practitioners precious gems and jewels. I don't doubt that sincere practice of such things rooted in empowerment by a Guru is conducive to prosperity at a variety of levels. On the other hand, I wouldn't literally expect gemstones to fall from the sky and land at the feet of practitioners.

I believe that looking at the Liberation Through Seeing Script creates seeds that will, in time, lead to liberation. I wouldn't expect the kind of mechanistic action you are describing, and I interpret the language you've cited as highlighting its qualities in poetic form, not as a mathematically precise descriptor of its effect.

That's my read, anyway.
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Heterodox Garden
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by Heterodox Garden »

1. Let us recall that as Buddhists we are not required to be textual fundamentalists in the Abrahamic religious mode. One may even, in my opinion at least, disagree with the validity of certain supposedly canonical Sutras and/or Tantras and still be a Buddhist, although some might disagree.

2) Aside from the above, one way to think about the OP's question would be to read texts like this as being preached not from the perspective of conventional experience but from the perspective of the deepest level of the Dharmadhatu, where all distinctions, including the seperation of one moment in time from another necessary for the passage of time, dissolve in primordial unity. Thus, from this perspective, the passage of time is an illusion, and therefore so is the separation between the practitioner's current deluded state and the time at which the practitioner achieves liberation. Similar ideas are often used to assert in Mahayana that the momement one begins to aspire to liberation, one's liberation is already assured (consider also doctrines asserting the fundamental inseparability of practice and the fruits of practice).

So since from this standpoint, practice or even the aspiration for enlightenment is identical with enlightenment itself, so yes, you are "already liberated" at the moment you see certain images or hear/speak certain sounds that arouse the aspiration (or perhaps even the concept) of liberation.

I think its fine to think in the above way but it's tricky because you have to rememeber this is spoken from the perspective of fundamental unity in the Dharmadhatu and not from "the conventional perspective of ordinary worldlings." When one mixes up these two perspectives, you get the potential for incorrext views and antinomian or morally questionable behavior.
Recommended reading material of recent interest:
写経 仏典を訓読してみませんか
http://gallerynyoze.web.fc2.com/syakyo.html
Urgyen Dorje
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by Urgyen Dorje »

There are many promises given by the buddhas, bodhisattvas, and great masters. Our own gurus promise things too, such as when they say we are guaranteed to be enlightened in no more than seven lifetimes after a major wang.

If we say these things are not true, are we saying they are lying?

Why would we find these things award to believe? If it's because these claims are so amazing, there is also the possibility that our view is limited and our vision clouded.

These are claims about reality that aren't based in plain rational thought. The claims of the tantras come from primordial wisdom which transcends the scope of rational thought. If we can't reconcile the claim that hearing the mani prevents rebirth in hell, but it is so easy to go to hell, perhaps that is like the story of Milarepa sheltering in a horn without making himself smaller or the horn bigger-- it transcends ordinary mind.

I'm a simpleton when it comes to these things. We can create a million parallel lives and do statistics and see how well these promises pan out, but for sure if we have no faith, they certainly won't work out. Given how precious human existence is, the best we can do is have faith and trust but still do our practice with faith and trust.
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明安 Myoan
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by 明安 Myoan »

Boomerang wrote:
Monlam Tharchin wrote:The way I view it, especially with things like reciting "Amitabha" just once and never being reborn in the three lower realms, is that it's fruit on a tree.
You already have the roots and the trunk, i.e. the inconceivable workings of karma, merit, and assistance from virtuous beings, that have lead you to hearing this sutra or reciting a buddha's name.
These things don't happen as some isolated "self" events that work a miracle on the "self" of our delusion.
It's not that some words on a page produce a priceless pearl in your pocket out of thin air, or that you browse a website and suddenly the tree outside is covered in fruit.
The ill in Buddhism being ignorance, then being told where to find the pearl or the fruit directs us to what dispels the suffering born of ignorance.
If I decided to wear a shirt with Mingyur Dorje's terma and go kill a bunch of animals, would I be benefiting them? I would be ejecting them to higher births, right?

Image
Is this likely? Hypotheticals are sometimes useful, and sometimes less so.

If earnestly entering the sutra in question is your goal, then I think there are two routes you can go. If you feel "My life is this, the sutra is that, how could the sutra miraculously effect fortunate rebirth in my life?" then cultivation of faith and devotion are needed. One already has the suspicion that something miraculous or unusual would have to take place, so to benefit fully from good medicine without letting doubt find fault in everything, we have to momentarily accept unusual things like merit transfer, bodhisattva activity, purification of past karma and so on. At least, we can't let doubt be the lock on the door, something that stops our investigation cold. Otherwise, we don't enter the house of the sutra and can only make guesses about the inner rooms.

Another view is that the encounter of a sutra is not a set of discrete objects (me, sutra, reading, delusion, my rebirth). In short, that "my karma" and "this sutra" are appearances, so interactions between them are not what they may seem. In that case, one can approach this as another way to cultivate insight into non-self. That is, in what way does this sutra actually function? Who is reading it? What happens when you read lines saying that what you just did profoundly impacts your future?

Maybe a more personal conversation here rather than an abstract theoretical one will lead to a more satisfying answer.
In short, what does a sutra like that mean in your life?
Of course, it doesn't have to mean anything. 84,000 doors and all that.
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: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by Jesse »

I'm not sure about seeing or reading certain materials but dharma in general seems to help keep us out of lower realms. Even if we do end up in lower realms the stay is usually shorter.

Suffering ceases being pointless and then becomes one of our teachers, that's prob the most powerful part of understanding dharma. Once you've understood it you can't lose that wisdom.

We can never see the full extent of our karmas influence on ourselves.. maybe by spinning a prayer wheel or reading a sutra we gain just enough good merit to save us when we most need it etc.
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Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by tomschwarz »

))))) you must evaluate the wisdom of the dharma yourself like a goldsmith evaluates metal to see if it is in fact gold. if something does not ring true, discard it. his holiness makes public his discarding of the mt. sumeru idea/landscape.

then remember the whole context of this discussion about the dharma. the literal (verbal) dharma is itself dual, relative truth. that is why there is written the instruction in the diamond sutra to ultimately abandon it like a raft used to cross a river. http://www.diamond-sutra.com/diamond_su ... page6.html so in other words, of the three practice areas of buddhism: ethics, meditation and wisdom, expect more from them in the absolute truth (the result of the dharma) than the relative truth of the verbal dharma itself.

with all that said, you already know (or can readily find out) if something helps you and/or others or hurts you and/or others. don't fool yourself into fooling yourself )))))
i dedicate this post to your happiness, the causes of your happiness, the absence of your suffering the causes of the absence of your suffering that we may not have too much attachment nor aversion. SAMAYAMANUPALAYA
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by lobster »

:good:

Wait we have to think :thinking: for ourselves :techproblem: oh ... :tantrum:

You might :thanks: be right, maybe you were a book in a previous dimension?

I hope the Manis I just did will ensure :broke: empty pockets :woohoo:
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by Simon E. »

tomschwarz wrote:))))) you must evaluate the wisdom of the dharma yourself like a goldsmith evaluates metal to see if it is in fact gold. if something does not ring true, discard it. his holiness makes public his discarding of the mt. sumeru idea/landscape.

then remember the whole context of this discussion about the dharma. the literal (verbal) dharma is itself dual, relative truth. that is why there is written the instruction in the diamond sutra to ultimately abandon it like a raft used to cross a river. http://www.diamond-sutra.com/diamond_su ... page6.html so in other words, of the three practice areas of buddhism: ethics, meditation and wisdom, expect more from them in the absolute truth (the result of the dharma) than the relative truth of the verbal dharma itself.

with all that said, you already know (or can readily find out) if something helps you and/or others or hurts you and/or others. don't fool yourself into fooling yourself )))))

))))))) and don't fool yourself by abandoning the raft THIS side of the river.. or by kidding yourself that you can do without one. ))))))))
“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: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by Astus »

Things have no power, karma is made by the mind. When something is seen, the effect depends on the seer. It might be the Buddha himself, but a mosquito sees only a source of blood. People may read as many teachings as they like, but correctly understanding them is up to the individual. While the Diamond Sutra (ch 8, tr Muller) says that it is the source of all buddhas, it is of course not the physical book or the words themselves that are the source. As Huineng says in the Platform sutra (ch 2, tr McRae): "people of this world always recite prajñā with their mouths, but they don’t recognize the prajñā of the self-natures. This is like talking about eating, which doesn’t satisfy one’s hunger. If you just talk about emptiness with your mouths, you won’t be able to see the nature for a myriad eons. Ultimately, this is of no benefit at all." Liberation can happen when seeing, when hearing, or with any other object, as the Surangama Sutra explains in detail. But as long as one is lost in words and ideas, even as obvious objects as the sun and moon are invisible for the deluded.
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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Sonam Wangchug
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by Sonam Wangchug »

I think that it's good to understand that any connection with the dharma is a ultimately a good thing.

That will plant seeds which will come to fruition when the time is right, the speed of which I think will depend on the individuals involved.

I think it's obvious that if we meet Great lamas or stupas and the like with great devotion the blessings will take hold of us in a stronger way ..

None the less, as I mentioned before any connection is a good connection. One of the special features of bodhisattvas for example is that
whether a good connection or a bad connection that establishes a hook for the benefit of that being eventually.

Even if an individual is born in a higher realm, that doesn't necessarily mean they won't fall right to the lower realms yet again.

There are Eon's where not even the name of the Buddha is heard according to tradition, these various profound manifestations still due relate to
the collective merit of beings, I think it's important not go get lax about it and think that they are not precious because so many people could see them
and so on and so forth.

I disagree that things have no power in themselves, After all we do have liberation through Hearing, wearing, seeing, and so forth. Take for instance the story of the pig chased around the stupa, or the pigeon who overheard the sage chanting scripture both reborn in higher realms.

I am sure that you have no plans to say mantras and then commit serious karmic acts afterwards. However that is never the less a serious misunderstanding.
I suggest if you do have a teacher or access to a qualified teacher to ask them your question I am sure lama's have been asked about this before and they will be
able to provide you a good answer.

When you ask on an internet discussion forum you may get 10 different answers, many times the answers are coming from those who lack faith in the Konchok sum and their actual abilities and blessings. I think when it comes to ANYTHING we can split hairs, however if this is a topic which is really disturbing you and your practice that you cannot reconcile I would recommend consulting an authentic lama.

All the best
"To have confidence in the teacher is the ultimate refuge." -Rigzin Jigme Lingpa
Simon E.
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by Simon E. »

Amen to that.
“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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PadmeSamadhi
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by PadmeSamadhi »

Boomerang wrote: Murderer: I'm afraid of the karma I've accumulated from murdering my parents and destroying stupas.

Devas: Don't worry murderer. All of your karma has been purified now that you've heard a little bit of the Sanghata Sutra. Absolutely nothing matters as long as you have faith in this sutra.
What I believe about "all of your karma has been purified" is not that this being is completely free right now, but let's say the murderer would fall in a lower realm at 200mph, but now he is falling at 150mph and he will not suffer exactly the same way anymore and will be back from that realm "soon" enough.

I know a person that was identified as a hell being incarnated as human and I strongly believe this person was in Buddhism before going to hell. This assumption was based in astrology, because that person was born in a specific sign which tells the person's previous incarnation, that sign tells us that if the person was born with a square spot on the thigh it is because this being came from a hell realm.
And I know the person and she has a square spot on the thigh, I know her behaviour very well to confirm she behaves as a hell being in many ways!
It's very weird lol.
:rolling:

Sorry I'm having dificulty in explaining this.
Malcolm
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Re: How effective are liberation-upon-seeing dharma doors?

Post by Malcolm »

Boomerang wrote:There are a bunch of images and mantras and sutras that say you will be free of the lower realms forever just because you've seen or heard them. Does this really mean that if you hear Medicine Buddha's name or look at one of those little red and gold cards, you could become a serial killer and still never be reborn in the lower realms? If these things are really so powerful, you would think that everyone who has so much as heard HH The Dalai Lama's name or the mani mantra will never be reborn in the lower realms—a very large percentage of the Earth's population.

Is it really that easy to never be reborn in the lower realms? If it is, it would follow that every teaching about the lower realms is just a skillful means for generating compassion toward beings not of this world. You could chant the Akshobhya mantra to somebody, murder them, and rest assured that neither of you will suffer in the lower realms and always move toward Buddhahood.
It means that you have planted a cause of inevitable liberation. It does not mean that you can expect never to be reborn in lower realms if you are a nonvirtuous person.

For example, if you are wearing a liberation through wearing amulet and you engage in misdeeds, it intensifies the misdeeds. So I was warned by my teacher to never wear such things and engage in misdeeds. If you wear them for practice however, they can aid your practice a lot.
"Death stands before all who are born."
— Ācārya Aśvaghoṣa
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