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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PeterB
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by PeterB » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:16 am

tiltbillings wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
Dexing wrote:Yogacara teachings first of all teach that everything ordinary beings perceive is merely the object of a subjective consciousness and not objective existence. Once realizing this, then obviously "exist" or "does not exist" both do not apply.
The first and the second sentence are contradicting.
Also how does Yogacara explain two individuals sharing the same "object of subjective experience". e.g. two individuals seeing fire and burning their fingers after they put their fingers in the fire and are holding them there?
How does Yogacara explain sucessful human activity based on thought and perception of objects shared by different individuals (e.g. science, mathematics)?
Keep in mind that the Tibetan tenet system's interpretation of Yogachara and what Dexing is positing as Yogachara is not necessarily how Yogacharins saw themselves or understood themselves. It depends upon who you read and when and where, which is to say there are differing understandings.
I think it needs saying Tilt that what Dexing is positing is pretty much the way that some Vajrayana schools would posit it. and identical to the stated view of some members of a certain Zen forum of the parish.
Where a common reponse to any query or problem is to assure the questioner that they the questioner dont exist.

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tiltbillings
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:32 am

PeterB wrote: Where a common reponse to any query or problem is to assure the questioner that they the questioner dont exist.
One has to wonder what wheel turns so remarkably stupidly to say something as shallow as that. (I have seen Theravadins also make an equivalent sort of statement.)
>> 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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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by PeterB » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:49 am

To be fair at least one of the people who have operated as mods there will challenge such assertions.
In Zen they have an expression " Zen Sickness " to describe a condition of considerable alienation, which is interpreted by the sufferer as having achieved some kind of breakthrough. I dont know how prevelant Zen Sickness is among Zen students in the far east, but it is frequently encountered on Zen websites.

Q) I am having trouble with focusing on the breath.
A) You dont exist, your breath does not exist, you are already a Buddha..( and I'm a little teapot small and stout )..

But I digress..somewhat.

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tiltbillings
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:51 am

PeterB wrote:To be fair at least one of the people who have operated as mods there will challenge such assertions.
In Zen they have an expression " Zen Sickness " to describe a condition of considerable alienation, which is interpreted by the sufferer as having achieved some kind of breakthrough. I dont know how prevelant Zen Sickness is among Zen students in the far east, but it is frequently encountered on Zen websites.

Q) I am having trouble with focusing on the breath.
A) You dont exist, your breath does not exist, you are already a Buddha..( and I'm a little teapot small and stout )..

But I digress..somewhat.
And then there is Madhyamaka/sunyata/emptiness/anatta sickness.
>> 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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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by PeterB » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:55 am

Indeed. I am still recovering. You can never say..I WAS one of those..Its like alcoholism. One day at a time. Every day the mantram.." rupa is no less real than citta "..

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tiltbillings
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:02 am

PeterB wrote:Indeed. I am still recovering. You can never say..I WAS one of those..Its like alcoholism. One day at a time. Every day the mantram.." rupa is no less real than citta "..
Easy to talk the talk, but not being real no real chance of walking the walk. Damn, I noted.
>> 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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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:04 am

Hi Peter,

While some Mahanaya suffer from "emptiness sickness" Theravadins can be susceptible to the related strain of "paramattha sickness", where objects are labelled as "concepts" and then declared to not exist...

Mike

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tiltbillings
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:07 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Peter,

While some Mahanaya suffer from "emptiness sickness" Theravadins can be susceptible to the related strain of "paramattha sickness", where objects are labelled as "concepts" and then declared to not exist...

Mike
But let us not forget the flip side: objects do exist, at least for the moment.
>> 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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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:18 am

Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote: But let us not forget the flip side: object do exist, at least for the moment.
Yes, I thought that was what I was implying.

I think some of the difficulties we have wrestling with these ideas is the language. Or, more specifically, the overtones that the English translations carry that are not necessarily part of the original meaning. When we use words like "conceptual", "ultimate", or "emptiness" we drag a lot of baggage in...

Mike

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Shonin » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:31 am

Dexing wrote:I have quoted no Yogacara text thus far, but only very widely accepted Sutras in all Mahayana schools which say the same things explicitly. Namely I have quoted here the Shurangama Sutra and various Prajnaparamita Sutras.
I'm not familiar with the Shurangama Sutra, but as a Chan text, without research I can't eliminate a Yogacara influence. Nevertheless you should take the mass of counter-evidence as evidence for re-examining the accuracy of your interpretation of your selective quotes from these sutras.

Your mistaken notions about rupa and sunyata referring to colour and space have already been refuted.

However, reading your excerpts from the Shurangama Sutra strongly suggests an anti-realist philosophy and thus, most likely, a Yogacara or quasi-Hindu influence. But anti-realism is not the mainstream understanding of Sunyata, which is much more subtle than that.
What each of your excerpts are saying is not in conflict with the "literal interpretation of Yogacara". If you really understand Yogacara teachings, it is saying the same thing in your excerpts.

That is, there is simply nothing to point to and say "this exists" or "this does not exist". If you attach to non-existence, saying something does not exist, then there is still "something" to not exist.

Yogacara teachings first of all teach that everything ordinary beings perceive is merely the object of a subjective consciousness and not objective existence. Once realizing this, then obviously "exist" or "does not exist" both do not apply.
You have changed your position. Previously you were arguing that all phenomena are an illusion and in reality are unreal and non-existent. Now you are saying it means that neither 'exist' and 'not exist' apply. Which is it?

Sunyata does indeed reveal that in a sense neither 'exist' nor 'not exist' apply (except by convention) but this is completely different to (ie. a direct contradiction of) saying that everything is an illusion and nothing exists.

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by PeterB » Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:05 am

One for for the " "There's nothing new under the sun " department.

" After we came out of church we stood talking of Bishop Berkeleys ingenious sophistry to prove the non existence of matter and that everything in the universe is merely ideal. I observed that although we are satified that his doctrine is untrue, it is impossible to refute it.
I shall never forget the alacrity with which he ( Samuel Johnson ) answered, sriking his foot with mighty force against a large stone until he rebounded from it, " I refute it THUS ! "

From Boswell's Life Of Doctor Johnson.

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Shonin » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:33 am

A Zen monk was leaving the temple when he stubbed his toe hard on a rock. He said "Do not be fooled by others".

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Dexing » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:31 am

TMingyur wrote:
Dexing wrote:Yogacara teachings first of all teach that everything ordinary beings perceive is merely the object of a subjective consciousness and not objective existence. Once realizing this, then obviously "exist" or "does not exist" both do not apply.
The first and the second sentence are contradicting.
Also how does Yogacara explain two individuals sharing the same "object of subjective experience". e.g. two individuals seeing fire and burning their fingers after they put their fingers in the fire and are holding them there?
How does Yogacara explain sucessful human activity based on thought and perception of objects shared by different individuals (e.g. science, mathematics)?

Kind regards
They are not contradicting. They are both saying there is nothing to point to and label as "existing" or "not existing". There is simply nothing there at all. But attaching to this non-existence saying something "does not exist" is still asserting "something" that does not exist.

It sounds contradictory, but the first instance is showing the unreality of illusory objects, and the second is cautioning you not to attach to the non-existence of the object, because that would assert "something" that does not exist. Like illusory flowers floating in the sky when the sight becomes fatigued. Actually nothing is there, but if you stubbornly cling to these flowers as "existing" or "not existing" then you make them real either way. But first you must realize what appears before you is an illusion.

Make sense?

As for sharing the same object of subjective experience, it is explained as "collective karma". A human being will have a certain type of experience shared by other beings of the same path. Much like hungry ghosts or devas, or even how two cows might perceive an object in the same way as black and white, while humans perceive another color. Which is seeing the true appearance of the world? It is actually individual and collective karma at work here.

:namaste:

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Dexing » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:41 am

dhamma follower wrote:Again here, what is the definition of Ordinary Being ? From what it's said above,anyone who is not a Buddha ? Then how can Bodhicitta arises in an Ordinary Being, since, according to you, the condition for it is realization of "all are illusions" belongs only to the Buddha ?
Bodhicitta is an aspiration based on an insight and faith in the teaching of all as an illusion. Bodhicitta is then the aspiration to attain reality. With an actual breakthrough, Bodhi, one is no longer an Ordinary Being and need not rely on Bodhicitta.
Do you see the contradiction in your presentation ? On the one hand you maintain that realization of the nature of reality as "all are allusions" is indispensable to the arousal of Bodhicitta. But when asked how the insight into this occurs exactly and how it relates to Bodhicitta, you say it only belongs to the Buddha's consciousness!!!!
The realization is not thorough in an Ordinary Being, but an insight which produces an arousal of faith and aspiration to full realization- Bodhicitta. But an insight into the illusory nature of an Ordinary Being's perceived world is necessary.

A Buddha does not have consciousness. Consciousness always belongs to Ordinary Beings. When one becomes a Buddha the Eight Consciousnesses are transformed into Four Wisdoms.

That's actually what I said, to be more precise.
Otherwise, as some one has noticed, many of your points are merely convictions without a solid basis of investigation and actual experiences.
I'm interested in how they could know what my investigations and actual experiences might be.
Btw, how do you understand the experience of Nibbana, as far as it can gets with words ? Do you think in the experience of Nibbana, there's a perceiver and the perceived ?
From a Mahayana perspective, in regards to the Nibbana of an Arahant, it is the cessation of suffering associated with the false view of self. Meaning the Arahant has eradicated that false view. However, there is still the duality of Consciousness and Object of Consciousness, Inside and Outside. There is simply no identification with the process.

:namaste:
Last edited by Dexing on Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:42 am

Dexing wrote:"collective karma"
:alien:
"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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