The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:15 am

Greetings,

Of relevance to Brizzy's point, and arguably the entire topic... an extract from...

DN 16: Mahaparinibbana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The Blessed One wrote:"In this fashion, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu might speak: 'Face to face with the Blessed One, brethren, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives a community with elders and a chief. Face to face with that community, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name live several bhikkhus who are elders, who are learned, who have accomplished their course, who are preservers of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with those elders, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives a single bhikkhu who is an elder, who is learned, who has accomplished his course, who is a preserver of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with that elder, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation.'

"In such a case, bhikkhus, the declaration of such a bhikkhu is neither to be received with approval nor with scorn. Without approval and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it. But if the sentences concerned are traceable in the Discourses and verifiable by the Discipline, then one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is the Blessed One's utterance; this has been well understood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' And in that way, bhikkhus, you may accept it on the first, second, third, or fourth reference. These, bhikkhus, are the four great references for you to preserve."
Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Dexing » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:22 am

tiltbillings wrote:No. The Theradavain bodhisatta path leads to becoming a Wheel Turning Sammsambuddha, and there is no need here for the later Mahayana construction.
The Bodhisatta term is used for one who is on the path toward liberation. A Paccekabodhisatta attains Paccekabuddhahood, and a Savakabodhisatta attains Arahantship following the teachings of a Buddha.

What the Buddha taught in the Pali Canon is the Savakabodhisatta path toward Arahantship.

The teaching of the Bodhisattva path toward anuttara-samyak-sambodhi is taught in Mahayana Sutras, which requires a different view of reality than attained by the Arhats.

:namaste:

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Paññāsikhara » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:22 am

Brizzy wrote: Could you provide a reference for this "sutta"? I am sorry but it is not a circular argument, with a small degree of discernment it is relatively easy to spot "later additions" - that is not to say that your discernment will agree with mine ( this is the free for all ). If things dont "match" in the sense that they go against the vast majority of suttas - I disregard them. The suttas have a vast overwhelming "taste" this "taste" can be discerned, it is up to every individual traveller to do this.

:smile:
One reference is here: 《阿毘達磨大毘婆沙論》卷178:「如說慈氏。汝於來世當得作佛。」(CBETA, T27, no. 1545, p. 893, c1), this is cited from a Sutra.
Another is here: 《增壹阿含經》卷19〈27 等趣四諦品〉:「(五)」(CBETA, T02, no. 125, p. 645, a28); ibid. 卷37〈42 八難品〉:「彌勒菩薩應三十劫當成無上正真等正覺。」(CBETA, T02, no. 125, p. 754, b17-18)

And there is another (like the first) which mentions Ajita, too, but can't find it right now.
So that is two very distinct schools which both state this teaching in a (nikaya / agama) sutra.

The "taste" criteria sounds so highly subjective that I'd imagine one could come up with anything to suit one's own tastes. Seriously, we need some proper method and criteria, otherwise people will just say whatever they like. Surely you can provide some more explicit details.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:25 am

Greetings bhante,

Is there any chance you could give a brief/rough translation? My Chinese isn't as good as yours. :D

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Paññāsikhara » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:27 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Of relevance to Brizzy's point, and arguably the entire topic... an extract from...

DN 16: Mahaparinibbana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The Blessed One wrote:"In this fashion, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu might speak: 'Face to face with the Blessed One, brethren, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives a community with elders and a chief. Face to face with that community, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name live several bhikkhus who are elders, who are learned, who have accomplished their course, who are preservers of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with those elders, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives a single bhikkhu who is an elder, who is learned, who has accomplished his course, who is a preserver of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with that elder, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation.'

"In such a case, bhikkhus, the declaration of such a bhikkhu is neither to be received with approval nor with scorn. Without approval and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it. But if the sentences concerned are traceable in the Discourses and verifiable by the Discipline, then one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is the Blessed One's utterance; this has been well understood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' And in that way, bhikkhus, you may accept it on the first, second, third, or fourth reference. These, bhikkhus, are the four great references for you to preserve."
Metta,
Retro. :)
By this criteria, my citations above have already conclusively proven that the Buddha did in fact teach such a path. Why, because they can be traced to the discourses.

But, I just know that somebody will disagree. On what grounds, though? Taste. I don't see an additional criteria of "trace them in the discourses and verify them by the discipline, and see if they suit your tastes or not".

So, what criteria will they use? I ask this in the most serious manner possible.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Dexing » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:33 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Of relevance to Brizzy's point, and arguably the entire topic... an extract from...

DN 16: Mahaparinibbana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Good!

Everything I've said in this thread regarding the insight of reality within Mahayana and Theravada traditions has been stated across many discourses. I've already provided many. So I don't fear repeating them here. It's just that Mahayana teachings, such as the Yogacara, often seem so counter-intuitive to modern Western common-sense that they are rarely just taken as they are, but are interpreted through classical teachings or wishful thinking.

:namaste:

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Paññāsikhara » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:38 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings bhante,

Is there any chance you could give a brief/rough translation? My Chinese isn't as good as yours. :D

Metta,
Retro. :)
I'll give a synopsis:

In EA 16:5, Maitreya asks the Buddha how dana should be cultivated to become a buddha.
In EA 42:6 (~A. VIII. 30. Anuruddha), it begins with Anuruddha meditating, and contemplating on sila. It then leads into the "eight great thoughts" (cf. Pali sutta of same name and main character), which states how Maitreya will attain Buddhahood through effort over many kalpas.
In EA 43:2 (~A. VIII. 41. Saṃkhitta), it talks about how Maitreya will teach three assemblies in the future once he becomes a Buddha.

As for the Vibhasa, it is the story of Maitreya and Ajita (in the other sutra of the EA that I can't locate right now). The former vows to become a Buddha, the latter to become a Cakravartin. The former is praised, the latter is scolded :tongue: .

There are more, these are just a couple of interesting ones.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:45 am

Thanks bhante.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Paññāsikhara » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:58 am

retrofuturist wrote:Thanks bhante.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Sorry, correction. The sutra with the story about Maitreya and Ajita is not in the EA, but in the Madhyama Agama, #66: 《中阿含經》卷13〈1 王相應品〉:(六六)說本經第 (CBETA, T01, no. 26, p. 508, c9-10) ~cf. Theragāthā. 910-919. So, that's another notch for the (Sautrantika) Sthaviras, rather than the Mahasamghikas.
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Brizzy

Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Brizzy » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:59 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Of relevance to Brizzy's point, and arguably the entire topic... an extract from...

DN 16: Mahaparinibbana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By this criteria, my citations above have already conclusively proven that the Buddha did in fact teach such a path. Why, because they can be traced to the discourses.

But, I just know that somebody will disagree. On what grounds, though? Taste. I don't see an additional criteria of "trace them in the discourses and verify them by the discipline, and see if they suit your tastes or not".

So, what criteria will they use? I ask this in the most serious manner possible.
With respect, one obscure sutta that is not even found in the Nikayas cannot be called proof of such a path. Ten or more suttas across the traditions and I might give it more credence ( if it was in line with other suttas).

The criteria one uses have been posted by Retro, as I said one obscure sutta does not fulfill the criteria as defined by the Buddha.

:smile:
Last edited by Brizzy on Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:11 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Paññāsikhara » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:21 am

Brizzy wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Of relevance to Brizzy's point, and arguably the entire topic... an extract from...

DN 16: Mahaparinibbana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By this criteria, my citations above have already conclusively proven that the Buddha did in fact teach such a path. Why, because they can be traced to the discourses.

But, I just know that somebody will disagree. On what grounds, though? Taste. I don't see an additional criteria of "trace them in the discourses and verify them by the discipline, and see if they suit your tastes or not".

So, what criteria will they use? I ask this in the most serious manner possible.
With respect, one obscure sutta that is not even found in the Nikayas cannot be called proof of such a path. Ten or more suttas across the traditions and I might give it more credence ( if it was in line with other suttas).
Obscure sutra? Why is it any more obscure than any other? Oh, wait, "obscure" means "I haven't heard of it, therefore it must be obscure", right?
"One"? No, I've already given at least four there.
"Ten or more suttas", well, I've given you quite a few above. And like I said, there are more. Let's see if I can make ten. Still, note that the "ten or more" is your own criteria, and not that of the Buddha.

Though even if I find ten, or even twenty, something tells me that you'll be moving the goalposts by then, huh?
The criteria one uses have been posted by Retro, as I said one obscure sutta does not fulfill the criteria as defined by the Buddha.

:smile:
Just, that they agree with the discourses and discipline. And they are right there, in the sutras. The criteria given by the Buddha does not specify "ten or more". Can you provide a source for that criteria of "ten or more"? Actually, to be consistent with yourself, can you provide "ten or more" suttas that specify "ten or more"?
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by jcsuperstar » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:30 am

um, since we're talking about Theravada in the generic does that include the Jataka tales? which kinda sorta show a bodhisatta path albeit one that is pretty much just sorta stumbling towards enlightenment it is one moving in a directed path.
but also maybe off topic here but it could be helpful to know just what is the mahayana Bodhisattva path? not including the vows, as far as i can tell the practice is pretty much the same, do good, avoid evil, purify the mind... maybe i just didnt stick around long enough but i was never taught some "trick" that kept me from becoming an arhat and instead going on to be a buddha, or is it just that as an arhat i'd realize i should go on to be a buddha (which is really what i was taught and read), which means what then is the point of a mahayana or theravada bodhisattva path, i'd be an arahant and enlightened and it would all be all down hill from there right? the bodhisattvas i read about seemed to be sorta like the buddha only they hung out in hell or stopped you from having your head cut off things like that but that doesnt mix well with the theravada jataka tales and do those have a Sanskrit equivalent? and if so how do you rectify that with the sutras about other boddhisattvas? and what about Amida and buddhas that create purelands are they just selfish then since they didn't stay Bodhisattva's? and oh man there's just so many avenues this can go down....
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

Brizzy

Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Brizzy » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:32 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Of relevance to Brizzy's point, and arguably the entire topic... an extract from...

DN 16: Mahaparinibbana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


With respect, one obscure sutta that is not even found in the Nikayas cannot be called proof of such a path. Ten or more suttas across the traditions and I might give it more credence ( if it was in line with other suttas).
Obscure sutra? Why is it any more obscure than any other? Oh, wait, "obscure" means "I haven't heard of it, therefore it must be obscure", right?
"One"? No, I've already given at least three there.
"Ten or more suttas", well, I've given you quite a few above. And like I said, there are more. Let's see if I can make ten. Still, note that the "ten or more" is your own criteria.

Though something tells me that you'll be moving the goalposts by then, huh?



Just, that they agree with the discourses and discipline. And they are right there, in the sutras. The criteria given by the Buddha does not specify "ten or more". Can you provide a source for that criteria of "ten or more"? Actually, to be consistent with yourself, can you provide "ten or more" suttas that specify "ten or more"?
Obscure? Well yes. They do not appear in the nikayas - the most complete source of the buddhas teachings. You have provided chinese references, which is not my forte. You refer to them as sutras, again this will immediately set my spider senses tingling. As for "ten or more" this is an off the cuff remark ( I could have said 20 or 30 ) my point was the Buddhas teachings are generally reiterated again & again & again & again...............................

:smile:

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Paññāsikhara » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:33 am

In a certain sense, as opposed to the time of the citation in the Mahaparinibbana sutta when teachings circulated orally, in the present, by relying on "texts", the entirety of the criteria given there is a form of circular argument, or rather, begging the question.

How do we know that it is a correct teaching / sutta?
Because it matches the other suttas / correct teachings.
But how do we know that those other suttas are correct?
Because ...

Well, because we have at some point imposed an a priori group of teachings which we have declared to be correct and true. However, this is a matter of dispute, what teachings are they, exactly? And answering this just sets us back to the original problematic.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:38 am

Dexing wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:No. The Theradavain bodhisatta path leads to becoming a Wheel Turning Sammsambuddha, and there is no need here for the later Mahayana construction.
The Bodhisatta term is used for one who is on the path toward liberation. A Paccekabodhisatta attains Paccekabuddhahood, and a Savakabodhisatta attains Arahantship following the teachings of a Buddha.
Cite your textual support for this.
What the Buddha taught in the Pali Canon is the Savakabodhisatta path toward Arahantship.
No. What is found in that texts that deal with this is a path to becoming a Sammsambuddha. Also, Savakabodhisatta is not used in the suttas.
The teaching of the Bodhisattva path toward anuttara-samyak-sambodhi is taught in Mahayana Sutras, which requires a different view of reality than attained by the Arhats.
Only according to the later Mahayana constructs.
>> 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.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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