Article: 'How western Buddhism has changed in 50 years'

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Aloka
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Re: Article: 'How western Buddhism has changed in 50 years'

Post by Aloka » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:10 pm

nowheat wrote:
And, moreover, Mahayana is a path to self-liberation and a path to the liberation of all beings.

:namaste:
I'm curious to know how following Mahayana as ''a path to the liberation of all beings'' (which presumably originates from the idea of the Bodhisattva vows to'' liberate all sentient beings'') fits in with the Secular and Skeptical Buddhists who don't believe in rebirth.

Presumably one couldn't 'liberate all beings' in a single lifetime. :)



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Lazy_eye
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Re: Article: 'How western Buddhism has changed in 50 years'

Post by Lazy_eye » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:20 pm

Aloka wrote:
nowheat wrote:
And, moreover, Mahayana is a path to self-liberation and a path to the liberation of all beings.

:namaste:
I'm curious to know how Mahayana as ''a path to the liberation of all beings'' (which presumably originates from the idea of the Bodhisattva vows to'' liberate all sentient beings'') fits in with the Secular and Skeptical Buddhists who don't believe in rebirth.

Obviously one couldn't 'liberate all beings' in a single lifetime.
Well, not to simply repeat what I posted earlier, but if completing the bodhisattva path amounts to attaining the wisdom (prajñā) that enables one to drop the notions of "self" and "other" (plus "being" and "lifespan", according to the Diamond Sutra), then the question isn't really any different regardless of whether we're talking about Mahayana or Theravada. Either way, it comes down to sila, samadhi and prajñā/paññā, no? The main point of divergence I see is in how the aspiration is defined.

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Aloka
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Re: Article: 'How western Buddhism has changed in 50 years'

Post by Aloka » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:24 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
Well, not to simply repeat what I posted earlier, but if completing the bodhisattva path amounts to attaining the wisdom (prajñā) that enables one to drop the notions of "self" and "other" (plus "being" and "lifespan", according to the Diamond Sutra), then the question isn't really any different whether we're talking about Mahayana or Theravada.
Yes but that's not immediately evident to most people who become involved with Mahayana/Vajrayana and take Bodhisattva Vows, nor are they told that when they take the vows. (not in my offline experience anyway)

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daverupa
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Re: Article: 'How western Buddhism has changed in 50 years'

Post by daverupa » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:44 pm

I always picture hordes of bodhisattvas sitting in some sublime heaven, the last beings, repeating to each other until the end of the age: "No, go ahead, you first."

:jumping:
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Goofaholix
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Re: Article: 'How western Buddhism has changed in 50 years'

Post by Goofaholix » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:49 pm

daverupa wrote:I always picture hordes of bodhisattvas sitting in some sublime heaven, the last beings, repeating to each other until the end of the age: "No, go ahead, you first."
Strikes me as a bit like trying to delay an orgasm, for the benefit of others.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Aloka
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Re: Article: 'How western Buddhism has changed in 50 years'

Post by Aloka » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:53 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
daverupa wrote:I always picture hordes of bodhisattvas sitting in some sublime heaven, the last beings, repeating to each other until the end of the age: "No, go ahead, you first."
Strikes me as a bit like trying to delay an orgasm, for the benefit of others.

Lol ! :rolleye:


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Lazy_eye
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Re: Article: 'How western Buddhism has changed in 50 years'

Post by Lazy_eye » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:13 pm

Aloka wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:
Well, not to simply repeat what I posted earlier, but if completing the bodhisattva path amounts to attaining the wisdom (prajñā) that enables one to drop the notions of "self" and "other" (plus "being" and "lifespan", according to the Diamond Sutra), then the question isn't really any different whether we're talking about Mahayana or Theravada.
Yes but that's not immediately evident to most people who become involved with Mahayana/Vajrayana and take Bodhisattva Vows, nor are they told that when they take the vows. (not in my offline experience anyway)
It seems that in Mahayana the timescales got exploded so that the path involves vast eons during which one accumulates heaps of merit and wisdom, etc. But a skeptical/secular Mahayana Buddhist would interpret this figuratively or as an expedient means/teaching device, just as a skeptical/secular Theravadin would "rationalize" passages in the suttas that discuss supranormal powers, ominscience and so on.

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Aloka
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Re: Article: 'How western Buddhism has changed in 50 years'

Post by Aloka » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:18 pm

Lazy_eye wrote: ....... But a skeptical/secular Mahayana Buddhist would interpret this figuratively or as an expedient means/teaching device.
And your evidence to support this statement is....... ?


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Lazy_eye
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Re: Article: 'How western Buddhism has changed in 50 years'

Post by Lazy_eye » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:37 pm

Aloka wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote: ....... But a skeptical/secular Mahayana Buddhist would interpret this figuratively or as an expedient means/teaching device.
And your evidence to support this statement is....... ?
It's just a observation based on what I've read, studied and discussed with others. Perhaps I might have said "could interpret" rather than "would interpret".

If you're interested, it might be a good question to pose over at ZFI.

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Aloka
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Re: Article: 'How western Buddhism has changed in 50 years'

Post by Aloka » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:53 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
If you're interested, it might be a good question to pose over at ZFI.
My original question was about people who call themselves 'Secular Buddhists' or 'Skeptical Buddhists' and there have been people posting here who appear to consider themselves as such, so they might have responded.

I'm not sure how asking the question at ZFI would help....and its almost my bedtime anyway, so I bid you goodnight from my time zone - and have very nice day in your own.

:anjali:

nowheat
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Re: Article: 'How western Buddhism has changed in 50 years'

Post by nowheat » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:06 am

Aloka wrote:
nowheat wrote:
And, moreover, Mahayana is a path to self-liberation and a path to the liberation of all beings.
I'm curious to know how following Mahayana as ''a path to the liberation of all beings'' (which presumably originates from the idea of the Bodhisattva vows to'' liberate all sentient beings'') fits in with the Secular and Skeptical Buddhists who don't believe in rebirth.

Presumably one couldn't 'liberate all beings' in a single lifetime. :)
I hope you didn't mistake what I said for my practice; I am not part of the Mahayana lineage. So I'm having a little bit of a hard time figuring out just what you're asking and why, unless it was purely intended as humor?

I have a sort of answer to the question, but I don't want to spoil your joke if that's what it was. And I would like to be sure I understand the question if you're wanting an answer.

:namaste:

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Aloka
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Re: Article: 'How western Buddhism has changed in 50 years'

Post by Aloka » Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:42 am

nowheat wrote:
Aloka wrote:
nowheat wrote:
And, moreover, Mahayana is a path to self-liberation and a path to the liberation of all beings.
I'm curious to know how following Mahayana as ''a path to the liberation of all beings'' (which presumably originates from the idea of the Bodhisattva vows to'' liberate all sentient beings'') fits in with the Secular and Skeptical Buddhists who don't believe in rebirth.

Presumably one couldn't 'liberate all beings' in a single lifetime. :)
I hope you didn't mistake what I said for my practice; I am not part of the Mahayana lineage.
Sorry....I misunderstood and thought you were declaring that the liberation of all beings was a fact according to your own understanding.(and to me the concept of 'liberating all sentient beings" in Mahayana/Vajrayana seems to be a rather impractical goal )

:)

nowheat
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Re: Article: 'How western Buddhism has changed in 50 years'

Post by nowheat » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:19 am

Aloka wrote: Sorry....I misunderstood and thought you were declaring that the liberation of all beings was a fact according to your own understanding.(and to me the concept of 'liberating all sentient beings" in Mahayana/Vajrayana seems to be a rather impractical goal )
No problem. And yes, impractical, especially in one lifetime. But then, I have long been a fan of Don Quixote, and tend to tilt at windmills. I find the Mahayana ideal to be a noble one, and something we should all aim our efforts towards, but gently (no conversions by the sword, please).

:namaste:

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