Mayahana and Mainstream Indian Buddhist Accounts of Each Other

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
binocular
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Re: Where are the enlightened westerners?

Post by binocular » Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:25 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:01 pm
/.../ Some Buddhists seem to really love this kind of talk. As for me, I’d rather spend a whole afternoon cleaning the monastery toilets than waste even a minute on it.
Bhante is funny!
:jumping:

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Bundokji
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Re: Where are the enlightened westerners?

Post by Bundokji » Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:43 pm

Point 3.7 seems to be quite interesting to be debated between different sects :coffee:
“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”
Søren Kierkegaard

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Dhammanando
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Re: Where are the enlightened westerners?

Post by Dhammanando » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:11 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:43 pm
Point 3.7 seems to be quite interesting to be debated between different sects

It was a very short and one-sided debate. :lol:
Controverted Point: That even the excreta of the Exalted Buddha excelled all other odorous things.

Theravādin: This would imply that the Exalted One fed on perfumes. But you admit only that he fed on rice gruel. Hence your proposition is untenable.

Moreover, if your proposition were true, some would have used the excreta for the toilet, gathering, saving them in basket and box, exposing them in the bazaar, making cosmetics with them. But nothing of the sort was done.
The commentary attributes the view to the Andhakas and Uttarāpathakas, on account of their excessive affection for the Buddha's person. It's no surprise that the Uttarāpathakas would think such a thing, for they were a late-Mahāsaṅghika splinter group and the Mahāsaṅghikas were responsible for the lion's share of extravagant ideas about buddhahood. That the Andhakas (the school of Andhra Pradesh) would share the Uttarāpathakas' folly isn't so easily accounted for. On the whole the Andhakas seem to have been pretty reasonable regarding Buddha-related matters.

binocular
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Re: Where are the enlightened westerners?

Post by binocular » Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:06 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:11 pm
Controverted Point: That even the excreta of the Exalted Buddha excelled all other odorous things.

Theravādin: This would imply that the Exalted One fed on perfumes.
How does it imply that??
I dare say I'm not convinced by the Theravadin's refutation.

"That even the excreta of the Exalted Buddha excelled all other odorous things" actually seems possible. I garden, I have to do with different kinds of manure. I also take care of cats and have to clean up after dogs. I can tell each kind of manure simply by its smell. I also know other smelly details about which I won't say more at the time.
The controverted point doesn't say that the excreta of the Buddha weren't an odorous thing, only that they excelled all other odorous things. I think this is possible, but it has nothing to do with my affection for the Buddha's person. The fact is that there are excreta that smell less than others.

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Re: Where are the enlightened westerners?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:50 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:52 pm
the Arahant sees and meditates emptiness in the person but not in phenomenon, while the Bodhisattva see emptiness in both.
Despite the very sloppy language above, the sloppy idea of "seeing emptiness in phenomena", which I assume or guess means seeing "there is no phenomena", is unrelated to liberation according to the Buddha and is thus irrelevant. Liberation, according to the Buddha, is based in the abandonment of craving & the self-conceit. Therefore, seeing a tree as a "tree" or seeing body, feeling, perception, intention & consciousness as "body, feeling, perception, intention & consciousness" does not create suffering. This being said, the Pali does teach the emptiness of phenomena, as follows:
Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ananda, that the world is empty. And what is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self? The eye is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Forms... Eye-consciousness... Eye-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self.

"The ear is empty...

"The nose is empty...

"The tongue is empty...

"The body is empty...

"The intellect is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Ideas... Intellect-consciousness... Intellect-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Thus it is said that the world is empty."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Regardless, to hold there is no phenomena is wrong. In Pali, phenomena are classified by their functionality. For example, each time Malcolm looks at a computer screen, consciousness arises & functions, therefore, consciousness, as a phenomena, exists, regardless of its temporariness & conditionality.
And why, bhikkhus, do you call it form? ‘It is deformed,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called form. Deformed by what? Deformed by cold, deformed by heat, deformed by hunger, deformed by thirst, deformed by contact with flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, and serpents. ‘It is deformed,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called form.

And why, bhikkhus, do you call it feeling? ‘It feels,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called feeling. And what does it feel? It feels pleasure, it feels pain, sn.iii.87 it feels neither-pain-nor-pleasure. ‘It feels,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called feeling.

And why, bhikkhus, do you call it perception? ‘It perceives,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called perception. And what does it perceive? It perceives blue, it perceives yellow, it perceives red, it perceives white. ‘It perceives,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called perception.

And why, bhikkhus, do you call them volitional formations? ‘They construct the conditioned,’ bhikkhus, therefore they are called volitional formations. And what is the conditioned that they construct? They construct conditioned form as form; they construct conditioned feeling as feeling; they construct conditioned perception as perception; they construct conditioned volitional formations as volitional formations; they construct conditioned consciousness as consciousness. ‘They construct the conditioned,’ bhikkhus, therefore they are called volitional formations.

And why, bhikkhus, do you call it consciousness? ‘It cognizes :shock: , ’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called consciousness. And what does it cognize? It cognizes sour, it cognizes bitter, it cognizes pungent, it cognizes sweet, it cognizes sharp, it cognizes mild, it cognizes salty, it cognizes bland. ‘It cognizes,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called consciousness.

https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.79
Another fatal flaw of the Malcolm Mahayana wrong view is if liberation is this emptiness of phenomena, liberation can only be temporary because such an idea cannot abided in permanently. In reality, these ideas are not any type of liberation or meditative experience, Instead, these ideas are only intellectual philosophy rather than realities seen directly. That "phenomena" are composed of smaller & smaller causes & conditions is only an intellectual idea. It is not something that can be seen in meditation. What can be seen in meditation is what is described in the Pali suttas, namely, for example, consciousness is the experience of cognition; consciousness arises dependent on sense organs; consciousness ceases when sense organs cease; consciousness is impermanent; when examined closely, consciousness is empty of self, etc. To hold there is no consciousness because consciousness is comprised of tiny electrons, atoms & molcules is just intellectual imaginings, despite these imaginings possibly being scientifically true. It is wrong & a lie to assert there is no consciousness because consciousness operates & only operates each time there is seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling, cognition, etc. I think the Mahayana Malcolm view is certainly a superstition because it cannot be proven to be true or real. It is only an idea or thinking. It is not seeing. Therefore, the Bodhisatta does not "see" what Malcolm claims the Bodhisatta "sees". Instead, the Bodhisatta is merely thinking or engaged in papanca.

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mikenz66
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Re: Where are the enlightened westerners?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:12 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:50 pm
Despite the very sloppy language above, the sloppy idea of "seeing emptiness in phenomena", which I assume or guess means seeing "there is no phenomena", is unrelated to liberation according to the Buddha
...
That appears be a rather inaccurate guess.

:heart:
Mike

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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Where are the enlightened westerners?

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Sat Sep 30, 2017 1:44 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:43 am

For the Theravada, the sources are the Pali commentaries and Sri Lankan chronicles.

Somewhat ironically, however, the best sources of all are probably the Mahayana ones — Indian polemical works which attempt to defend Mahayana sutras against mainstream Buddhist objections to them. Being on the whole fairly gentlemanly debaters, Mahayanists like Bhāvaviveka and Haribhadra are careful to give scrupulously accurate accounts of their opponent’s views before taking a sledgehammer to them. In so doing they inadvertently leave us with a richer record of how non-Mahayana Buddhists viewed the Mahayana than that found in any non-Mahayana sources.

The following summary of "Hinayana objections" is taken from the Tarkajvālā, Bhāvaviveka's auto-commentary to his Madhyamakahṛdayakārikaḥ. (I've Palicised the Sanskrit words):
“The Mahāyāna suttas were not included in either the original or in any subsequent recitation of the Tipiṭaka.

“They contradict the doctrine that all saṅkhāras are impermanent by teaching that the Tathāgata is eternal.

“The doctrine of the all-pervasiveness of Tathāgatagabbha [‘Buddha Nature’] shows that the suttas’ author has not abandoned grasping at self.

“By teaching that the Buddha did not pass into Nibbāna they imply that Nibbāna is something other than the quietus of extinction.

“They make absurd prophecies that the Buddha’s mighty arahant disciples will eventually become Sammāsambuddhas.

“They belittle, mock and slander arahants.

“They extol unawakened Bodhisattas above the omniscient Buddha.

“They pervert the entire Dispensation by maintaining that the Blessed One was merely an illusory emanation.

“They advance the untenable claim that the Buddha lived in a state of uninterrupted samādhi.

“By asserting that weighty evil kammas can be absolved and prevented from ripening by mere rituals, the Mahāyāna suttas teach the heresies of acausalism and kammic inefficacy.

“Therefore, the Blessed One did not teach the Mahāyāna suttas. Rather, they were certainly delivered by Māra in order to pander to men of loose morals, to comfort men of evil desires, and to deceive men of feeble wits.”
Thank you Bhante!

I did not know Bhavaviveka and Haribhadra.


:anjali:
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. http://translate.google.com.br

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/

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Javi
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Re: Mayahana Commentaries on Theravada Doctrine

Post by Javi » Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:01 am

From my study, the Mahayana school's caricature of the mainstream schools as not understanding the emptiness of phenomena has always been obviously wrong. And I say this as someone with deep respect for the Mahayana traditions, practices and sanghas, having read a lot of their literature and practiced with them in their sanghas (Tibetan and Zen). It is just polemics pure and simple, spiritual marketing tactics of the lowest degree.

It has already been shown that Pali texts contain teachings about suññatā. A cursory google search will show that this is a teaching and a meditation taught in the Pali texts. I think the main issue here is that in the Pali suttas, suññatā is not seen as some separate truth apart from anatta. Also, there is no separation of suññatā of phenomena and suññatā of persons. Rather, from the POV of the Pali suttas, seeing that the five aggregates are empty of a self just is seeing suññatā - and this perception leads to letting go of the aggregates. BTW this is what is important about suññatā, that it is a skillful perception that leads to letting go. Suññatā is not the goal in itself, but a means to it.

This is, IMO, not different from what the Heart sutra says for example, so I honestly cannot see how Mahayanists think that they have this truth of emptiness all to themselves when it is clear that they do not, texts from mainstream schools such as the Tattvasiddhishastra of Harivarman clearly teach that dharmas are impermanent contingent phenomena empty of a self. Mun-Keat Choong and Yin Shun have also published studies with texts on Emptiness in the Chinese Agamas proving that these teachings exist here as well. This is also taught in the Theravada - no Theravadin will ever say that dhammas are some self existing essence thingy. Just because they do not use the same language and terminology as the Mahayana philosophers does not mean they do not teach emptiness. It only means that these schools diverged before certain scholastic terminology developed.

Interestingly enough, this is also the Gelug point of view of Tsongkhapa. Malcolm is not representing all of Tibetan Buddhism, rather the perspective of his particular school who disagreed with Tsongkhapa that arhats understand emptiness of phenomena.

But here's the thing that's tiring about this debate, its superficially academic. How would one know that certain persons' attainment is inferior simply because they belong to a particular school or interpret texts in a particular way? How can someone really know that a Thai Ajahn whose spent his life practicing Dhamma in the forest has not attained the deathless? All one would be doing is plugging in his scholarly categories. "Oh this person doesn't accept Mahayana sutras, so he must be inferior in realization, etc." So instead of going and meeting the person, questioning them, observing them and seeing if they have the marks of a spiritual friend, one just dismisses them based on sectarian views.

And here is where it becomes obvious what this Mahayana category system is all about - it is a sectarian tool to bring themselves up and put others down. I mean, it is quite obvious and understandable. Medieval India was filled with different traditions and one had to stake out one's territory to win support from the elites and from laypeople. The Mahayanists just happened to do this better than the mainstream schools and one can see why, their sutras are more colorful, more impressive, have more miracles and attractive imagery. Also, an eternal Buddha is just much more attractive than a Buddha who is dead and now only accessible through somewhat difficult and repetitive texts.

So yea, that is my response to that whole thing. It is quite nasty that these polemics are still going on in the West, as if Western Buddhism doesn't have more important things to worry about. Hopefully as Western Buddhism develops we will see less of this b.s.

I personally enjoy reading the Mahayana sutras, while I do not accept they come from the Buddha's time as modern scholarship has shown, I think their imagery can be beautiful and their perspectives can be interesting and often they are in line with my understanding of the Dhamma.

However the supercessionism I cannot get behind and this is further proof that they come from a later date since we clearly have no such polemics in the EBTs.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

Caodemarte
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Re: Mayahana Commentaries on Theravada Doctrine

Post by Caodemarte » Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:45 pm

Javi wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:01 am
From my study, the Mahayana school's caricature.....

It has already been shown that Pali texts contain teachings about suññatā. A cursory google search will show that this is a teaching and a meditation taught in the Pali texts. I think the main issue here is that in the Pali suttas, suññatā is not seen as some separate truth apart from anatta. Also, there is no separation of suññatā of phenomena and suññatā of persons.... this is what is important about suññatā, that it is a skillful perception that leads to letting go. Suññatā is not the goal in itself, but a means to it.

This is, IMO, not different from what the Heart sutra says for example, so I honestly cannot see how Mahayanists think that they have this truth of emptiness all to themselves.....
I would disagree that is is even superficially academic. :smile:

Who exactly says these things? Internet poseurs, scolds, or trolls? Poorly educated sectarians who often do not understand their own sect? The ancient, sometimes cruel, sometimes polite polemics among now extinct Indian debaters from now extinct sects?

Respectfully, there is no one Mahayana authority that can say this or that for all as you would probably agree. There is a wide collection of different sects that embrace a loose collection of texts and ideas that we then group together into what we call the Mahayana and, of course, of disparate individuals.

The ideas of this movement are indeed based on the logical implications of what we now call EBT. The proponents of these ideas believed and said they are the ideas of EBT (and therefore would be ideas or interpretations of ideas shared with the modern Theravada as pointed out by the moderns) as correctly underlined by your comments on emptiness.

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Javi
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Re: Mayahana Commentaries on Theravada Doctrine

Post by Javi » Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:33 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:45 pm
Javi wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:01 am
From my study, the Mahayana school's caricature.....

It has already been shown that Pali texts contain teachings about suññatā. A cursory google search will show that this is a teaching and a meditation taught in the Pali texts. I think the main issue here is that in the Pali suttas, suññatā is not seen as some separate truth apart from anatta. Also, there is no separation of suññatā of phenomena and suññatā of persons.... this is what is important about suññatā, that it is a skillful perception that leads to letting go. Suññatā is not the goal in itself, but a means to it.

This is, IMO, not different from what the Heart sutra says for example, so I honestly cannot see how Mahayanists think that they have this truth of emptiness all to themselves.....
I would disagree that is is even superficially academic. :smile:

Who exactly says these things? Internet poseurs, scolds, or trolls? Poorly educated sectarians who often do not understand their own sect? The ancient, sometimes cruel, sometimes polite polemics among now extinct Indian debaters from now extinct sects?
....
How about Asanga in his Bodhisattvabhumi, or most of the Tibetan scholastic works that form the foundation of the education of Tibetan Buddhist monastics? How about the Mahayana sutras who make these exact points?

The supercessionism comes embedded in all of the major shastras of late Indo-Tibetan Buddhism - with the exception of the Abhidharmakosha.

How to even begin to disentangle this dilemma as Western Buddhists? This is ultimately a personal manner and there is no single solution. Ultimately everyone has to decide if they think that they will hold the Mahayana sutras and shastras as definitive. Those who have more of a historical perspective like myself will certainly see them as interesting and even helpful texts but will defer to the EBTs for the closest texts we have to the Buddha himself.

Of course from a strictly Mahayana POV this is non-sense, the Mahayana sutras are authoritative because they come directly from the Buddha, and herein lies the problem. We are taking different texts as our foundation.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

Saengnapha
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Re: Mayahana Commentaries on Theravada Doctrine

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Sep 30, 2017 5:11 pm

Javi wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:33 pm
Caodemarte wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:45 pm
Javi wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:01 am
From my study, the Mahayana school's caricature.....

It has already been shown that Pali texts contain teachings about suññatā. A cursory google search will show that this is a teaching and a meditation taught in the Pali texts. I think the main issue here is that in the Pali suttas, suññatā is not seen as some separate truth apart from anatta. Also, there is no separation of suññatā of phenomena and suññatā of persons.... this is what is important about suññatā, that it is a skillful perception that leads to letting go. Suññatā is not the goal in itself, but a means to it.

This is, IMO, not different from what the Heart sutra says for example, so I honestly cannot see how Mahayanists think that they have this truth of emptiness all to themselves.....
I would disagree that is is even superficially academic. :smile:

Who exactly says these things? Internet poseurs, scolds, or trolls? Poorly educated sectarians who often do not understand their own sect? The ancient, sometimes cruel, sometimes polite polemics among now extinct Indian debaters from now extinct sects?
....
How about Asanga in his Bodhisattvabhumi, or most of the Tibetan scholastic works that form the foundation of the education of Tibetan Buddhist monastics? How about the Mahayana sutras who make these exact points?

The supercessionism comes embedded in all of the major shastras of late Indo-Tibetan Buddhism - with the exception of the Abhidharmakosha.

How to even begin to disentangle this dilemma as Western Buddhists? This is ultimately a personal manner and there is no single solution. Ultimately everyone has to decide if they think that they will hold the Mahayana sutras and shastras as definitive. Those who have more of a historical perspective like myself will certainly see them as interesting and even helpful texts but will defer to the EBTs for the closest texts we have to the Buddha himself.

Of course from a strictly Mahayana POV this is non-sense, the Mahayana sutras are authoritative because they come directly from the Buddha, and herein lies the problem. We are taking different texts as our foundation.
I'm very pleased to see more of a response from this board towards the 'conceit' of Mahayanists who perhaps have gotten lost in the high faluttin' language of many of the Mahayana teachings with all their fancy, complex rituals and rites. I never understood what kind of Buddhism this was. Certainly Nagarjuna never envisioned his tetralemma to stick in the throats of those who espouse it. Even he went on to say that the view of emptiness must be let go of once it had done its job.

Here's a quote from the great Chan master Huangbo: "People only seek to stuff themselves with knowledge and deductions, seeking everywhere for book-knowledge and calling this Dharma-practice'. They do not know that so much knowledge and deduction have just the contrary effect of piling up obstacles. Merely acquiring a lot of knowledge makes you like a child who gives himself indigestion by gobbling too much curds. Those who study the Way according to the Three Vehicles are all like this. All you can call them is people who suffer from indigestion. When so-called knowledge and deductions are not digested, they become poisons, for they belong only to the plane of samsara."

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Javi
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Re: Mayahana Commentaries on Theravada Doctrine

Post by Javi » Sat Sep 30, 2017 5:21 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 5:11 pm
I'm very pleased to see more of a response from this board towards the 'conceit' of Mahayanists ....
While I think it is important to point out, I don't think its necessary to dwell on it. It is very easy to get all fired up about this stuff and therefore feed our own very special type of conceit in response ("I follow the true teaching!"). One has more important things to worry about in this life, like cleaning monastery toilets and practicing the path.

It's funny because I'm sure that it must have been seen as rather tiresome to many ancient Indian Buddhists too, it's just that since they focused on practice and not on propaganda, we'll never know. That's ultimately the sad part about all this, most of the real masters stayed silent and went off to caves and forests instead of writing vast philosophical compendia.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

Caodemarte
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Re: Mayahana Commentaries on Theravada Doctrine

Post by Caodemarte » Sat Sep 30, 2017 5:57 pm

Javi wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:33 pm
Caodemarte wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:45 pm
Javi wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:01 am
From my study, the Mahayana school's caricature.....

It has already been shown that Pali texts contain teachings about suññatā. A cursory google search will show that this is a teaching and a meditation taught in the Pali texts. I think the main issue here is that in the Pali suttas, suññatā is not seen as some separate truth apart from anatta. Also, there is no separation of suññatā of phenomena and suññatā of persons.... this is what is important about suññatā, that it is a skillful perception that leads to letting go. Suññatā is not the goal in itself, but a means to it.

This is, IMO, not different from what the Heart sutra says for example, so I honestly cannot see how Mahayanists think that they have this truth of emptiness all to themselves.....
I would disagree that is is even superficially academic. :smile:

Who exactly says these things? Internet poseurs, scolds, or trolls? Poorly educated sectarians who often do not understand their own sect? The ancient, sometimes cruel, sometimes polite polemics among now extinct Indian debaters from now extinct sects?
....
How about Asanga in his Bodhisattvabhumi, or most of the Tibetan scholastic works that form the foundation of the education of Tibetan Buddhist monastics? How about the Mahayana sutras who make these exact points?

The supercessionism comes embedded in all of the major shastras of late Indo-Tibetan Buddhism - with the exception of the Abhidharmakosha.

How to even begin to disentangle this dilemma as Western Buddhists? This is ultimately a personal manner and there is no single solution. Ultimately everyone has to decide if they think that they will hold the Mahayana sutras and shastras as definitive. Those who have more of a historical perspective like myself will certainly see them as interesting and even helpful texts but will defer to the EBTs for the closest texts we have to the Buddha himself.

Of course from a strictly Mahayana POV this is non-sense, the Mahayana sutras are authoritative because they come directly from the Buddha, and herein lies the problem. We are taking different texts as our foundation.
Of course, basic Mahayana thought is based on texts with the same content as other schools. It is the interpretation that is the basic problem more so than any later texts. BTW, many ancients, at least in East Asia, and almost all moderns would agree that the later sutras would not have been literally spoken by the historical Buddha. That is not the point of the sutras.

It would be interesting to hear objections to the old classics by T.R.V. Murthi, who argues that Madhyamaka is simply an interpretation of the Nikayas or texts with same content (I cannot imagine any Mahayana follower arguing against this and even less that Mahayana contradicts anything in EBT) and David Kalupahana, who argues Nagarjuna perfectly agrees with the Theravada. There is also extensive ancient commentary and sutric writings to the point that the Mahayana itself must be dropped at some point (agreeing with your earlier point) as provisional and that it is not correct to blindly attack other sects (because they too are provisional and may be the medicine needed by a particular person). Sadly, few of the polemical writers took this to heart.

It would be helpful to understand your point if you would cite exactly what you are referring to in the many writings of Asanga or in the vast scholastic Tibetan literature or in the many sutras and why you object to it. It is confusing when you assume a unifed position for all Mahayana sects collectively, as individual sects, and for members of those sects. As is well known there are many things even in the Tibetan literature that even the Dalai Lama would object to (for example, his statement that Mt. Meru is not the geographic center of the Earth, whatever old literature may say). Is it just that they say that their wonderful argument is correct and criticize their sometimes imaginary opponents?

I do not see a dilemma for Buddhists. People say many things and are quoted as having said many more. Some things are true and useful. Some are not. As I understand Buddhism we use reason, practice, and experience to distinguish between them. The weakest reason would be the argument from authority. To use a paraphrased Mahayana Zen quote from Joshu (Zhàozhōu Cōngshěn), “If I can learn from a 70 year old man, I will learn from him. If I can learn from a 7 year old child, I will learn from the child.”

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Re: Mayahana Commentaries on Theravada Doctrine

Post by Javi » Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:55 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 5:57 pm
Of course, basic Mahayana thought is based on texts with the same content as other schools. It is the interpretation that is the basic problem more so than any later texts. BTW, many ancients, at least in East Asia, and almost all moderns would agree that the later sutras would not have been literally spoken by the historical Buddha. That is not the point of the sutras.

It would be interesting to hear objections to the old classics by T.R.V. Murthi, who argues that Madhyamaka is simply an interpretation of the Nikayas or texts with same content (I cannot imagine any Mahayana follower arguing against this and even less that Mahayana contradicts anything in EBT) and David Kalupahana, who argues Nagarjuna perfectly agrees with the Theravada. There is also extensive ancient commentary and sutric writings to the point that the Mahayana itself must be dropped at some point (agreeing with your earlier point) as provisional and that it is not correct to blindly attack other sects (because they too are provisional and may be the medicine needed by a particular person). Sadly, few of the polemical writers took this to heart.

It would be helpful to understand your point if you would cite exactly what you are referring to in the many writings of Asanga or in the vast scholastic Tibetan literature or in the many sutras and why you object to it. It is confusing when you assume a unifed position for all Mahayana sects collectively, as individual sects, and for members of those sects. As is well known there are many things even in the Tibetan literature that even the Dalai Lama would object to (for example, his statement that Mt. Meru is not the geographic center of the Earth, whatever old literature may say). Is it just that they say that their wonderful argument is correct and criticize their sometimes imaginary opponents?
I have no objections to the Mulamadhyamakakarikas and agree that his ontology is pretty closely tied to the EBTs.

I currently do not have my copy of the Bodhisattvabhumi at hand, but from looking at what is available online we have this:
Regarding these, the spiritual lineage that is possessed by listeners and solitary realizers brings a purity that is gained through the removal of the obscurations of the mental afflictions, but not through the removal of the obscurations to that which needs to be known...

The superiority of the Bodhisattvas [I.1.3]
In addition there are four ways in which the Bodhisattvas should be known as superior to the listeners and solitary realizers...due to their superior faculties, their superior pursuit, their superior skill and their superior result.
Emphasis mine.

Anyways the text goes on about how the Mahayana ideal of the Bodhisattva is so much better than those of the mainstream schools (read: listeners is code for mainstream Buddhists).

Turning to China, Zhiyi does the same in his texts, see for example chapter ten of the "Essentials of Buddhist meditation" translated by Dharmamitra:
At such time one does not perceive any fruit of Buddhahood above which may be sought after, nor does one perceive any beings below which could be delivered to liberation. This constitutes moving from conventional truth into the contemplation of the truth of emptiness. If one commits the error of taking up residence in this contemplation, one thereby falls down onto the ground of the sravaka disciples... pp.189
I am not objecting to all Mahayana literature tout court, just certain aspects of it that I find rather distasteful (i.e. the spiritual marketing tactics). Like I said, I own a copy of the Bodhisattvabhumi and find its discussions interesting. Likewise I find the meditations of Zhiyi instructive - his explanations have helped me with anapanasati for example.

Ultimately though, their perspective isn't definitive but merely the work of scholars with particular opinions, and for the definitive teachings one must go to the EBTs, which is the closest thing we are going to get to the word of the Buddha. My opinion is that I think we should read this stuff but keep its historical perspective in mind and ground ourselves in the words of the Buddha of the EBTs. With regards to the sectarian stuff, I would totally jetisson it, but it seems (from the discussions quoted in this thread from our sister site) that there are those Western Buddhists who would like to continue with it. That is a sad state of affairs indeed.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Mayahana and Mainstream Indian Buddhist Accounts of Each Other

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:34 pm

Bhāvaviveka is considered Mahayana Madhyamaka.

but he argues against the Mahayana Sutras and the Bodhisattvas.

Why is he Mahayana?


"Perhaps the teaching is one, but there are various people who hear it. On account of the inconceivable merit it bestows, it shines forth in various ways".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haribhadra



:anjali:
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Javi
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Re: Mayahana and Mainstream Indian Buddhist Accounts of Each Other

Post by Javi » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:55 pm

Lucas Oliveira wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:34 pm
Bhāvaviveka is considered Mahayana Madhyamaka.

but he argues against the Mahayana Sutras and the Bodhisattvas.

Why is he Mahayana?


"Perhaps the teaching is one, but there are various people who hear it. On account of the inconceivable merit it bestows, it shines forth in various ways".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haribhadra



:anjali:
Your link is to a Jain scholar
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Mayahana and Mainstream Indian Buddhist Accounts of Each Other

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:13 pm

Javi wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:55 pm

Your link is to a Jain scholar
the phrase is from Haribhadra

Madhyamaka is Mahayana?

the name of topic is Mayahana?
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http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/

Caodemarte
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Re: Mayahana Commentaries on Theravada Doctrine

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:23 am

Javi wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:55 pm

Regarding these, the spiritual lineage that is possessed by listeners and solitary realizers brings a purity that is gained through the removal of the obscurations of the mental afflictions, but not through the removal of the obscurations to that which needs to be known...

The superiority of the Bodhisattvas [I.1.3]
In addition there are four ways in which the Bodhisattvas should be known as superior to the listeners and solitary realizers...due to their superior faculties, their superior pursuit, their superior skill and their superior result.
Emphasis mine.

Anyways the text goes on about how the Mahayana ideal of the Bodhisattva is so much better than those of the mainstream schools (read: listeners is code for mainstream Buddhists).

Turning to China, Zhiyi does the same in his texts, see for example chapter ten of the "Essentials of Buddhist meditation" translated by Dharmamitra:
At such time one does not perceive any fruit of Buddhahood above which may be sought after, nor does one perceive any beings below which could be delivered to liberation. This constitutes moving from conventional truth into the contemplation of the truth of emptiness. If one commits the error of taking up residence in this contemplation, one thereby falls down onto the ground of the sravaka disciples... pp.189
I am not objecting to all Mahayana literature tout court, just certain aspects of it that I find rather distasteful (i.e. the spiritual marketing tactics). Like I said, I own a copy of the Bodhisattvabhumi and find its discussions interesting. Likewise I find the meditations of Zhiyi instructive - his explanations have helped me with anapanasati for example.

Ultimately though, their perspective isn't definitive but merely the work of scholars with particular opinions, and for the definitive teachings one must go to the EBTs, which is the closest thing we are going to get to the word of the Buddha. My opinion is that I think we should read this stuff but keep its historical perspective in mind and ground ourselves in the words of the Buddha of the EBTs. With regards to the sectarian stuff, I would totally jetisson it, but it seems (from the discussions quoted in this thread from our sister site) that there are those Western Buddhists who would like to continue with it. That is a sad state of affairs indeed.

“Mainstream Buddhism” is a pretty modern sectarian term. As Mahayanists would see it, they were clearly mainstream particularly as the the non-Mahayanist sects became extinct in North India (and then Buddhism itself). In China it would have been the only significant form of Buddhism.

The sad, yet rabid,sectarianism (mostly an odd Western reactionary Tibetan Buddhism, but there are other Mahayana strains) is why I and others left the other site. I have found little sign of it among Tibetan Buddhists or other Mahayana practioners that I have read or met in actual practice. Fortunately there are many strains of Buddhism available in the West and teachers/students from different sects have formed real friendships. They learn from each other. Someday this may spill over into the internet world!

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Re: Mayahana Commentaries on Theravada Doctrine

Post by Javi » Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:03 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:23 am

“Mainstream Buddhism” is a pretty modern sectarian term. As Mahayanists would see it, they were clearly mainstream particularly as the the non-Mahayanist sects became extinct in North India (and then Buddhism itself). In China it would have been the only significant form of Buddhism.

The sad, yet rabid,sectarianism (mostly an odd Western reactionary Tibetan Buddhism, but there are other Mahayana strains) is why I and others left the other site. I have found little sign of it among Tibetan Buddhists or other Mahayana practioners that I have read or met in actual practice. Fortunately there are many strains of Buddhism available in the West and teachers/students from different sects have formed real friendships. They learn from each other. Someday this may spill over into the internet world!
True, mainstream would depend on the time period you're talking about.

And I agree that you generally don't see this type of stuff in person from people.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Mkoll
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Re: Mayahana Commentaries on Theravada Doctrine

Post by Mkoll » Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:17 am

Javi wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 5:21 pm
While I think it is important to point out, I don't think its necessary to dwell on it. It is very easy to get all fired up about this stuff and therefore feed our own very special type of conceit in response ("I follow the true teaching!"). One has more important things to worry about in this life, like cleaning monastery toilets and practicing the path.

It's funny because I'm sure that it must have been seen as rather tiresome to many ancient Indian Buddhists too, it's just that since they focused on practice and not on propaganda, we'll never know. That's ultimately the sad part about all this, most of the real masters stayed silent and went off to caves and forests instead of writing vast philosophical compendia.
I agree.

IMO, we each arrive at a certain point of intellectual knowledge of Buddhadhamma where any further is superfluous and is pursued because of craving, not desire for growth in Dhamma. What is left to be done is practice. For example, a stock formula in the suttas is repeated many times:

1) A monastic asks the Buddha, “Venerable sir, it would be good if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in brief, so that, having heard the Dhamma from the Blessed One, I might dwell alone, withdrawn, diligent, ardent, and resolute.”

2) The Buddha gives them a custom Dhamma teaching.

3) They go off somewhere secluded, practice their butt off, and realize the Deathless.

That's all there is to it. No philosophizing, no debate, no sectarianism. No online forums :P. At a certain point, it's an internal journey because there is no further wisdom to be found in the external.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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