Is mahayana Buddism?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
suttametta
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by suttametta » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:01 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:Monism, pantheism, Vedānta, Mimāṃsā, etc., are all quite incompatible with right view. And without right view there can be no path to bodhi. Again, this has been explained at length by numerous Mahāyāna commentators. Your idiosyncratic opinions are not representative of the Mahāyāna teachings, period.
You cannot explain Guru Yoga without recourse to pantheism. As you mentioned, Vajrayana is part of Mahayana. Mahayana is speaking with a forked tongue.

Nyana
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by Nyana » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:34 pm

suttametta wrote:You cannot explain Guru Yoga without recourse to pantheism.
Well, again, this is at best a tangential point. I don't need to explain guru yoga, but I do think it can be well accounted for without recourse to a pantheistic view. But at any rate, I'd be interested to see the replies if you were to post this assertion on the Dharma Wheel Tibetan Buddhism Forum.

suttametta
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by suttametta » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:40 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
suttametta wrote:You cannot explain Guru Yoga without recourse to pantheism.
Well, again, this is at best a tangential point. I don't need to explain guru yoga, but I do think it can be well accounted for without recourse to a pantheistic view. But at any rate, I'd be interested to see the replies if you were to post this assertion on the Dharma Wheel Tibetan Buddhism Forum.
It's hardly tangential if this is one of the major ways Mahayana is practiced today. Garchen Rinpoche told me the nature of mind is omnipresent and permeates all beings which is why one can unite with the mind of the guru. I asked him if this was similar to Brahman or eternalism? He said the Buddha only meant to refute a Creator God, but the notion of Brahman is basically fine with buddha-dharma. That was surprising. I'll repost this.

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mikenz66
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:58 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
suttametta wrote:You cannot explain Guru Yoga without recourse to pantheism.
Well, again, this is at best a tangential point. I don't need to explain guru yoga, but I do think it can be well accounted for without recourse to a pantheistic view. But at any rate, I'd be interested to see the replies if you were to post this assertion on the Dharma Wheel Tibetan Buddhism Forum.
See here:
Is Guru Yoga Based on Pantheism?
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=9709" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
Mike

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Dan74
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by Dan74 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:29 am

I apprecate your posts, Paul, I am not here to disagree or debate. Your experience is your experience and I do not doubt it.

My feeling is that what you describe is a pretty fundamental problem in practice. Reification and attachment to sort of a self, a sense of existence, a vibration, of primordial sound, hell, most of us are attached to far grosser things than that!

Ive also heard similar reports from other former Vajrayana practitioners, one being a former member here, PeterB. Some Zen teachers have told me that in Vajrayana there is a lot of emphasis on energy and power.

Perhaps there are good reasons for this sort of practice though. Perhaps without habituating oneself to a swirling warm pool, it is virually impossible to let it go in a still cool one?

I do not know whether Vajrayana has forgotten about relinquishing each and every abiding and fetter, but they certainly have a lot of teachings to this effect and they hold Nagarajuna in very high regard. As for Zen, which is surely a major tradition within Mahayana.there are many clear instructions to this effect like here

http://www.spiritual-learning.com/case-27.html

So I am not sure if what you have related here describes the limits of Vajaraya practice, the limits of your lineage, the limits of specifically what you were taught, or indeed your understanding of it. But I do not think this desribes the limits of Mahayana and when you said that it is a hindrance, I think you overstated your case.
_/|\_

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Ben
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by Ben » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:53 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
suttametta wrote:When viewed from this lens, the practices of Mahayana and Vajrayana in particular come into focus as being syncretic modes, attempts to use Vedism as a path to bodhi. They use a monistic or pan-theistic trend in that line of practice, which the practice of Guru Yoga is the best exemplar, as expressed to me by Garchen Rinpoche.
Monism, pantheism, Vedānta, Mimāṃsā, etc., are all quite incompatible with right view. And without right view there can be no path to bodhi. Again, this has been explained at length by numerous Mahāyāna commentators. Your idiosyncratic opinions are not representative of the Mahāyāna teachings, period.
Well said, Geoff!
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suttametta
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by suttametta » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:55 am

Dan74 wrote:But I do not think this desribes the limits of Mahayana and when you said that it is a hindrance, I think you overstated your case.
Mahayana says Sravakayana is a hindrance, that Arahats are frozen in a one-sided samadhi. It is this claim from Mahayana that I am saying is false. It creates doubt in the sravakayana practitioner. This is what I'm calling a hindrance.

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daverupa
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by daverupa » Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:37 am

suttametta wrote:It creates doubt in the sravakayana practitioner.
This claim is certainly something to doubt.
  • "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]

Nyana
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by Nyana » Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:45 am

suttametta wrote:
Dan74 wrote:But I do not think this desribes the limits of Mahayana and when you said that it is a hindrance, I think you overstated your case.
Mahayana says Sravakayana is a hindrance, that Arahats are frozen in a one-sided samadhi. It is this claim from Mahayana that I am saying is false. It creates doubt in the sravakayana practitioner. This is what I'm calling a hindrance.
This is an over-generalization. The Mahāyāna includes a number of different currents encompassing many historical developments occurring over a thousand year period in India. There are numerous early Mahāyāna texts that don't make this claim at all. Moreover, there are Tibetan & Western authors who interpret Nāgārjuna and Candrakīrti as maintaining that a noble disciple has the same discernment of emptiness as an advanced noble bodhisattva.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:52 am

nagarjuna:
  • "The teaching of the Mahayana of non-production
    And of extinction in the Hinayana are the same
    Emptiness [since they show that inherent existence] is extinguished,
    And that nothing [inherently existent] is produced;
    Then let the Mahayana be accepted [as the Buddha’s word]"
  • "If emptiness and the great nature of a Buddha are viewed with reason,
    how could what is taught in the two vehicles be of unequal value for the wise?"
    verse 387; Hopkins translations, THE PRECIOUS GARLAND AND THE SONG OF FOUR MINDFULLNESSES, page 75

tsongkapa:
  • "Hinayana and Mahayana are not differentiated through their view (of emptiness); the Superior Nagarjuna and his sons assert that the vehicles are discriminated by the way of acts of skillful method." sNgags rim chen mo in TANTRA IN TIBET, trans by J. Hopkins, p 99
  • "There is no contradiction in the fact that for a Mahayanist, Hinayana is an obstacle to full enlightenment, but for one in the Hinayana lineage, it is a method for full enlightenment." sNgags rim chen mo in TANTRA IN TIBET, trans by J. Hopkins p 103.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

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Dan74
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by Dan74 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:55 am

suttametta wrote:
Dan74 wrote:But I do not think this desribes the limits of Mahayana and when you said that it is a hindrance, I think you overstated your case.
Mahayana says Sravakayana is a hindrance, that Arahats are frozen in a one-sided samadhi. It is this claim from Mahayana that I am saying is false. It creates doubt in the sravakayana practitioner. This is what I'm calling a hindrance.
Thank you for clarifying that.

I guess I took that statement to go with your earlier one
It is their views about not the extreme of nirvana and not the extreme of samsara that keeps them in samsara.
which I still don't quite understand in the context of Mahayana practice. Could you elaborate?
_/|\_

suttametta
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by suttametta » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:41 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
suttametta wrote:Mahayana says Sravakayana is a hindrance, that Arahats are frozen in a one-sided samadhi. It is this claim from Mahayana that I am saying is false. It creates doubt in the sravakayana practitioner. This is what I'm calling a hindrance.
This is an over-generalization. The Mahāyāna includes a number of different currents encompassing many historical developments occurring over a thousand year period in India. There are numerous early Mahāyāna texts that don't make this claim at all. Moreover, there are Tibetan & Western authors who interpret Nāgārjuna and Candrakīrti as maintaining that a noble disciple has the same discernment of emptiness as an advanced noble bodhisattva.
I am aware of that, but there aren't any traditions living that go with it.

suttametta
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by suttametta » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:42 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
  • "There is no contradiction in the fact that for a Mahayanist, Hinayana is an obstacle to full enlightenment, but for one in the Hinayana lineage, it is a method for full enlightenment." sNgags rim chen mo in TANTRA IN TIBET, trans by J. Hopkins p 103.
Very strange statement.

suttametta
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by suttametta » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:44 pm

Dan74 wrote:
It is their views about not the extreme of nirvana and not the extreme of samsara that keeps them in samsara.
which I still don't quite understand in the context of Mahayana practice. Could you elaborate?
Basically, the Mahayana is denigrating Nirvana so one won't get it, as if it is an obstacle.

Nyana
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by Nyana » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:19 pm

suttametta wrote:I am aware of that, but there aren't any traditions living that go with it.
Yes, Mahāyāna traditions generally have had to resort to various novel syncretic interpretive strategies to try to make a coherent bodhisattva path out of the vast and diverse body of Indian Mahāyāna texts. Meaningful scriptural authority is problematic in this context. Even moreso in this modern era where textual criticism and historical evidences have established that the Mahāyāna texts have no direct link to the historical Buddha.

However, as far as quality of teachings is concerned, and internal consistency, nothing else comes even close to matching the Pāli Nikāyas. Personally, this is why the Nikāyas are the only corpus of Buddhist discourses that I consider to be authoritative, or am willing to recommend to others without reservation.

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