original buddhism

A forum for those wishing to discuss Buddhist history and teachings in the Western academic manner, referencing appropriate sources.
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Nyedrag Yeshe
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe »

David N. Snyder wrote:Actually, I think there was a lot of support for the idea expressed here. As I mentioned, we can argue about what it entails, but the majority of posters did agree on some essential items of Gautama-Buddha's Dispensation, including Dependent Origination, Emptiness (or anatta), 4NT, 8FP.

I'm happy with the responses. And I don't believe Theravada=original, rather the foundational teachings of Gautama can be found in at least a few of the early schools for which Theravada is only one of those.
But still, many of the ideas presented here, have a sound Theravada grounding!I understand that you are very tolerant, but many opinions on here, even sound quite dogmatic!

But as I pointed out to Lucas, other religions like Hinduism and Jainism, present something similar to 4NT, like the existence to Duhkha up to the path to cessation! While it does differ in many aspects with regards to Buddha's path, it does has many similarities like renunciation! While dependent arising and emptiness is a 100% Buddhist thing, as Malcolm pointed out.
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།
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Re: original buddhism

Post by DNS »

Seeker12 wrote: I think texts like the Abhidharma-Samuccaya and the Khenjuk make it fairly clear that the first noble truth ultimately basically encompasses all knowledge of samsara, the 2nd NT encompasses all knowledge of the cause(s) of samsara, the 3rd NT encompasses all knowledge of the goal, and the 4th NT encompasses all aspect of the path(s) to the goal.

As such, I think all Buddhist teachings could fit into at least one of those categories. For example, teachings about the realms of beings, the elements, etc would fit under NT1. Teachings on craving, defilements, ignorance, etc would fit under NT2. Teachings about the unconditioned, nirvana with various subcategories (with remainder, w/o remainder, non-abiding)/nirodha, etc would fit under NT3, and teachings about any path to get from an 'unenlightened being' to enlightenment fall under NT4, such as the 5 paths, various methods/frameworks used, etc. Contemplation of DO would fit under NT4, and teachings on DO would at least probably fall under NT2 as well.

Concerning NT4, all paths that lead to the goal would be covered, which potentially includes infinite variations, basically, including paths of Dzogchen, tantras, cultivation of Bodhicitta, the Noble Eightfold Path, etc - as many as are necessary for all beings of all times. The essence of all of them are the same but they appear differently due to myriad conditions of beings, basically, I think.

I can't think of any Buddhist teaching that would not be included in this framework, and this framework could potentially be divided up endlessly it seems, in as many ways as might be necessary for each sentient being.
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Caoimhghín »

IMO, because I, in the past, too have been strongly biased against "EBT studies", I think people are hesitant to engage with EBT studies because they are biased against it, because academic bias toward contemporary Theraváda in EBT studies is a very real thing that is very prevalent in "Western discourse" surrounding "Buddhism". As a result, among Western converts, I think too many people are (due to the hegemony of knowledge considered "scientific") of the inclination that later dharma = "fake dharma" necessarily. People are afraid to admit that "Bodhisattvayána" enters the textual canon later than discourse about the 4NT or DO, because they think, wrongly IMO, that that means that Maháyána is "evil dharma" or just "wrong dharma". This is not the case.
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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Nyedrag Yeshe
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe »

Coëmgenu wrote:IMO, because I, in the past, too have been strongly biased against "EBT studies", I think people are hesitant to engage with EBT studies because they are biased against it, because academic bias toward contemporary Theraváda in EBT studies is a very real thing that is very prevalent in "Western discourse" surrounding "Buddhism". As a result, among Western converts, I think too many people are (due to the hegemony of knowledge considered "scientific") of the inclination that later dharma = "fake dharma" necessarily. People are afraid to admit that "Bodhisattvayána" enters the textual canon later than discourse about the 4NT or DO, because they think, wrongly IMO, that that means that Maháyána is "evil dharma" or just "wrong dharma". This is not the case.
It has been so since Walpola Rahula presentations! :twothumbsup:
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།
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Re: original buddhism

Post by DNS »

Nyedrag Yeshe wrote: But as I pointed out to Lucas, other religions like Hinduism and Jainism, present something similar to 4NT, like the existence to Duhkha up to the path to cessation! While it does differ in many aspects with regards to Buddha's path, it does has many similarities like renunciation! While dependent arising and emptiness is a 100% Buddhist thing, as Malcolm pointed out.
However, they differ from Buddhism right at the outset with their insistence of Atman, diametrically opposed to the anatta of Buddhism.
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Re: original buddhism

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But what the Jains and Hindus have in common with Buddhism, is the background understanding of there being repeated existences in the 'wheel of birth and death', through which liberation can only be won by insight into the true nature of things. in that respect, all are very different to the Biblical religions.
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe »

David N. Snyder wrote:
Nyedrag Yeshe wrote: But as I pointed out to Lucas, other religions like Hinduism and Jainism, present something similar to 4NT, like the existence to Duhkha up to the path to cessation! While it does differ in many aspects with regards to Buddha's path, it does has many similarities like renunciation! While dependent arising and emptiness is a 100% Buddhist thing, as Malcolm pointed out.
However, they differ from Buddhism right at the outset with their insistence of Atman, diametrically opposed to the anatta of Buddhism.
As I said, it does differ in many aspects! The only difference being between eternalism and the middle view free of extremes as established by the Buddha!

But also note, that the Buddha does not start speaking about anatta in the Dhammacakkapavattana, he only presents the view on the suffering of samsara and the path but does not elucidate on this specific point of 'anatta'. Even when he says 'right view' he does not elucidate on this specific issue!
According to Anderson there is a strong tendency within scholarship to present the four truths as the most essential teaching of Buddhism.[32] According to Anderson, the four truths have been simplified and popularized in western writings, due to "the colonial project of gaining control over Buddhism."[146][147] According to Crosby, the Buddhist teachings are reduced to a "simple, single rationalized account," which has parallels in the reinterpretation of the Buddha in western literature.[14
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Nobl ... n_the_west
Last edited by Nyedrag Yeshe on Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Malcolm »

David N. Snyder wrote:
Nyedrag Yeshe wrote: But as I pointed out to Lucas, other religions like Hinduism and Jainism, present something similar to 4NT, like the existence to Duhkha up to the path to cessation! While it does differ in many aspects with regards to Buddha's path, it does has many similarities like renunciation! While dependent arising and emptiness is a 100% Buddhist thing, as Malcolm pointed out.
However, they differ from Buddhism right at the outset with their insistence of Atman, diametrically opposed to the anatta of Buddhism.

The most widespread school of Buddhism in ancient India were the Pudgalavadins, who insisted, based on the hinayana sutras. That there was an inexpressible self that was different than the aggregates
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Re: original buddhism

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Malcolm wrote: The most widespread school of Buddhism in ancient India were the Pudgalavadins, who insisted, based on the hinayana sutras. That there was an inexpressible self that was different than the aggregates
Correct, however it was still anatta/emptiness, in their view, just their interpretation of it.
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Re: original buddhism

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Coëmgenu wrote:IMO, because I, in the past, too have been strongly biased against "EBT studies", I think people are hesitant to engage with EBT studies because they are biased against it, because academic bias toward contemporary Theraváda in EBT studies is a very real thing that is very prevalent in "Western discourse" surrounding "Buddhism". As a result, among Western converts, I think too many people are (due to the hegemony of knowledge considered "scientific") of the inclination that later dharma = "fake dharma" necessarily. People are afraid to admit that "Bodhisattvayána" enters the textual canon later than discourse about the 4NT or DO, because they think, wrongly IMO, that that means that Maháyána is "evil dharma" or just "wrong dharma". This is not the case.

Personally I have no problem with the above notions in their historical context. I just don't care because I'm not an academic, and I based what I perceive as the efficacy of my spiritual path mainly on lived experienced with teachers and practices, rather than analytical knowledge (well, not even knowledge in the Buddhist sense, but informed speculation) based on modern notions of historicity.

I am not sure why is such a difficult concept for people in Buddhism, nor why, so many spend so much time trying to "explain" in academic terms why they practice or believe as they do, the goals of which are way beyond the purview of academic thought. I suspect it is because many Buddhists want to be known as "scientific" or somehow bolster the view of Buddhism in the public eye as a "science of the mind" etc.

However laudable such a project is (and for sure, it has it's merits) I think it means zero to many people who are actively engaged in Buddhist practice. Particularly true if you do not (as is so common) reject out of hand "folk Buddhism".
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Malcolm »

David N. Snyder wrote:
Malcolm wrote: The most widespread school of Buddhism in ancient India were the Pudgalavadins, who insisted, based on the hinayana sutras. That there was an inexpressible self that was different than the aggregates
Correct, however it was still anatta/emptiness, in their view, just their interpretation of it.
I don't see how you can say that. It certainly was not how their opponents saw it
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Caoimhghín »

Malcolm wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:
Malcolm wrote: The most widespread school of Buddhism in ancient India were the Pudgalavadins, who insisted, based on the hinayana sutras. That there was an inexpressible self that was different than the aggregates
Correct, however it was still anatta/emptiness, in their view, just their interpretation of it.
I don't see how you can say that. It certainly was not how their opponents saw it
I read a paper recently that claimed that the Pudgalaváda polemicized against "anátmanváda", or anátman-framed-as-Buddhist-heresy. Is such the case? If so, than I can't see reconciliation between pudgalaváda and mainstream Buddhism, if not, than the "pudgala" is probably just a "misunderstood mindstream".
Then, the monks sang this gāthā:

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

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.
(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe »

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:IMO, because I, in the past, too have been strongly biased against "EBT studies", I think people are hesitant to engage with EBT studies because they are biased against it, because academic bias toward contemporary Theraváda in EBT studies is a very real thing that is very prevalent in "Western discourse" surrounding "Buddhism". As a result, among Western converts, I think too many people are (due to the hegemony of knowledge considered "scientific") of the inclination that later dharma = "fake dharma" necessarily. People are afraid to admit that "Bodhisattvayána" enters the textual canon later than discourse about the 4NT or DO, because they think, wrongly IMO, that that means that Maháyána is "evil dharma" or just "wrong dharma". This is not the case.

Personally I have no problem with the above notions in their historical context. I just don't care because I'm not an academic, and I based what I perceive as the efficacy of my spiritual path mainly on lived experienced with teachers and practices, rather than analytical knowledge based on modern notions of historicity.

I am not sure why is such a difficult concept for people in Buddhism, nor why, so many spend so much time trying to "explain" in academic terms why they practice or believe as they do, which is beyond the purview of academic thought. I suspect it is because many Buddhists want to be known as "scientific" or somehow bolster the view of Buddhism in the public eye as a "science of the mind" etc.

However laudable such a project is (and for sure, it has it's merits) it means absolutely -zero- to many people who actively engaged in Buddhist practice. Particularly true if you do not (as is so common) reject out of hand "folk Buddhism".
Trying to bring Buddhism to a kind of scientific positivism is a very interesting phenomenon, and not so recent (maybe so if you taking in account overall Buddhist history) This attitude has been a trend since Buddhism entered in contact with Western philosophy and also theosophy, beginning with European scholars and being strengthened also by Japanese scholarship!

If you have time and are willing to, you should read this interview, it presents a very good criticism of this kind of attitude among both Asians and Westerners!http://buddhiststudies.berkeley.edu/peo ... erview.pdf

Also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_modernism
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Malcolm »

Coëmgenu wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:
Correct, however it was still anatta/emptiness, in their view, just their interpretation of it.
I don't see how you can say that. It certainly was not how their opponents saw it
I read a paper recently that claimed that the Pudgalaváda polemicized against "anátmanváda", or anátman-framed-as-Buddhist-heresy.
We have the detailed polemics with Pugdgalavadins recorded both in the Katthavatthu and the ninth chapter of the Koshabhashyam. It is very clear they thought the present "no self" orthodoxy of modern Buddhism was a complete misunderstanding of Buddha's teachings. In Tibetan texts this is frequently brought up as a caveat about defining Buddhist teachings in terms of the three or four seals of the doctrine.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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Re: original buddhism

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And this is why we have the various sects in Buddhism and other religions. Sectarianism in Buddhism started around 285 BCE, shortly after the Second Council. The differences started out small and then through the polemics got exacerbated. The initial differences were small and usually were around Vinaya issues.
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Malcolm »

David N. Snyder wrote:And this is why we have the various sects in Buddhism and other religions. Sectarianism in Buddhism started around 285 BCE, shortly after the Second Council. The differences started out small and then through the polemics got exacerbated. The initial differences were small and usually were around Vinaya issues.
No, it started much earlier than that. It started during the time of the Buddha. Devadatta was the first sectarian. I am sure there were others.
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Re: original buddhism

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Malcolm wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:And this is why we have the various sects in Buddhism and other religions. Sectarianism in Buddhism started around 285 BCE, shortly after the Second Council. The differences started out small and then through the polemics got exacerbated. The initial differences were small and usually were around Vinaya issues.
No, it started much earlier than that. It started during the time of the Buddha. Devadatta was the first sectarian. I am sure there were others.
Correct and the Devadatta schism was over Vinaya issues on how strenuous the rules should be for monks. The wide scale differences of other schools of Buddhism was after the Second Council.
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Malcolm »

David N. Snyder wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:And this is why we have the various sects in Buddhism and other religions. Sectarianism in Buddhism started around 285 BCE, shortly after the Second Council. The differences started out small and then through the polemics got exacerbated. The initial differences were small and usually were around Vinaya issues.
No, it started much earlier than that. It started during the time of the Buddha. Devadatta was the first sectarian. I am sure there were others.
Correct and the Devadatta schism was over Vinaya issues on how strenuous the rules should be for monks. The wide scale differences of other schools of Buddhism was after the Second Council.

I think it is highly unlikely that the disputes recorded during the third council originated only after the second council. But this merely my opinion.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Seeker12 »

Malcolm wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:
Malcolm wrote: The most widespread school of Buddhism in ancient India were the Pudgalavadins, who insisted, based on the hinayana sutras. That there was an inexpressible self that was different than the aggregates
Correct, however it was still anatta/emptiness, in their view, just their interpretation of it.
I don't see how you can say that. It certainly was not how their opponents saw it
If anyone is interested, here is an article/book about the Pudgalavadins http://www.ahandfulofleaves.org/documen ... estely.pdf

An excerpt from the conclusion:

"... the Pudgalavadins did not actually reject the doctrine of non-self; they interpreted it according to their own understanding of what the Buddha intended. While the other schools denied the existence of the self in any way except as a useful (if dangerous) fiction, the Pudgalavadins denied the existence of the self as anything either identical with the aggregates or different from them. In their view, all dharmas (including Nirvana) are non-self, and there is no self to be found that is separate from these. They would agree that the doctrine of non-self is one of the defining doctrines of Buddhism, since it indicates the true nature of the self and so distinguishes the Buddhist position from those of the eternalizes on the one hand and the annihilationists (or materialists) on the other..."

I suspect they are referring to suttas that reference the 'allness of the all' (the 5 clinging aggregates), and the references to Viññanam anidassanam or "consciousness without feature", which apparently does not partake of the 'allness of the all'.

For any smart people - how exactly, then, is this different than talking about a mindstream? Malcolm, I have read you post that Buddhism asserts that all mindstreams are distinct - how is this different than this 'self' outside of the aggregates? Why can't you equate the two?

It also seems somewhat reminiscent, to me, of the message found in (for example) the uttaratantrashastra.
I heard this story about a fish. He swims up to an older fish and says: “I’m trying to find this thing they call the ocean.” “The ocean?” the older fish says, “that’s what you’re in right now.” “This”, says the young fish, “this is water. What I want is the ocean!”
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

ChNN has a take on this topic. On pgs. 16-17 of "Dzog Chen and Zen" he shoots down the whole "historicity = authenticity" perspective, then concedes that a historian would say the Shravakayana preceded the Mahayana. If you're interested in this topic and have the book it is a nice read.
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2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
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Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
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