Why is Mahayana so different?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Kim OHara
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Re: Why is Mahayana so different?

Post by Kim OHara » Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:59 am

No_Mind wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:45 pm
DooDoot wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:48 am
Most of what Robina says I personally would regard as contrary to the Pali suttas. What is unfortunate about Robina is constantly saying "the Buddha said" when there is no evidence the Buddha ever said such things.
Quite so. It is unsettling to watch someone who appears to be a prominent and reputed Tibetan Mahayana Buddhist teacher, putting forth the Dhamma in so dramatically different manner than what we understand.

It is an official FPMT (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition) video and that means what this teacher said is not a random discussion or quote but bona fide Mahayana interpretation of Dhamma.

:namaste:

No_Mind
Hi, No_Mind,
It's important to remember that FPMT does not speak for "the Mahayana" but only for FPMT, an organisation which is quite significant in terms of Tibetan Buddhism in the West but appears to have rather weak roots in Tibet - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundatio ... _Tradition.

No person or organisation can ever speak for "the Mahayana" because it is so diverse. And it is diverse for reasons that have already been mentioned - differences of opinion and interpretation amplified and hardened by long historical separation.

:namaste:
Kim

alan
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Re: Why is Mahayana so different?

Post by alan » Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:15 am

She does not strike me as an aware person.

alan
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Re: Why is Mahayana so different?

Post by alan » Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:25 am

Tibetan Buddhism is just so much nonsense. I could not finish this ridiculous video.

Caodemarte
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Re: Why is Mahaya

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:28 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:29 am
.....
I was being overly simplistic in my post, but what I said was taken from Bhante Punnaji's explanation of the split that occurred about 100 years after the Buddha's parinibbana.

When talking about Mahayana, there are many differences between the various Mahayana sects both in practice and theory. What does Nichiren have to do with Ch'an or Vajrayana? Sure, they all talk about Buddha's teaching, but imo, have been clouded over by ritual, philosophical debate, and without a clear path based on the Buddha's actual teachings.

In Theravada, you do have differences too, but they are rather minor compared to the Mahayana teachings. All I know is that the study of Theravada with its basis of 4 Noble Truths, 8 Fold Path, and study of paticca-samupadda, along with the EBT's are very direct, to the point, and devoid of many trappings that Mahayana serves up.
The story still does not match what we know of Buddhist history and makes little sense in a Buddhist context (arahant vs. Buddha were not used that way in the early texts, for example).

The comments on sectarian differences reminds me of the Catholic Church’s declaration that the distinctions between Luther’s theology and orthodox Catholic theology, over which thousands died for centuries, had only superficial interpretative differences, in no sense fundamental, and certainty not worth fighting about.

Chan, Nichiren, and Vajrayana are clearly based on shared common Mahayana teachings and are historically connected. Mahayana teachings are explicitly based on paticca-samupadda, the 4NT, etc., and claim to be a clear path based on the Buddha’s teaching. Ch’an, Nichiren, and Vajrayana are all famous for claiming, for good reasons, that they are the direct path, cutting through philosophical debates, and devoid of meaningless ritual. They are different, but these differences are not about basic doctrines.

None of them may be helpful for you. You may be attracted by one color robe or another. You don’t have to personally agree that any of them are correct, but the differences between them are not fundamental.

Zen and Nichiren would seem to be radically different on the surface. However, we can see in http://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings/ ... Letter.htm a marvelous example of how these superficial differences melt away as you go deeper. “It is one reality with two names, just as mochi and kachin are two names for the same thing, a rice-cake.”

I suspect that the differences between Theravada and Mahayana would as well.

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mikenz66
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Re: Why is Mahaya

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:11 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:29 am
I was being overly simplistic in my post, but what I said was taken from Bhante Punnaji's explanation of the split that occurred about 100 years after the Buddha's parinibbana.
There are far better sources! What you wrote/quoted sounded like complete nonsense, judging from what I've read in more reputable sources.

:heart:
Mike

Saengnapha
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Re: Why is Mahaya

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:20 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:11 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:29 am
I was being overly simplistic in my post, but what I said was taken from Bhante Punnaji's explanation of the split that occurred about 100 years after the Buddha's parinibbana.
There are far better sources! What you wrote/quoted sounded like complete nonsense, judging from what I've read in more reputable sources.

:heart:
Mike
Perhaps you should write to Bhante and ask him about this.

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mikenz66
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Re: Why is Mahaya

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:34 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:20 am
mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:11 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:29 am
I was being overly simplistic in my post, but what I said was taken from Bhante Punnaji's explanation of the split that occurred about 100 years after the Buddha's parinibbana.
There are far better sources! What you wrote/quoted sounded like complete nonsense, judging from what I've read in more reputable sources.

:heart:
Mike
Perhaps you should write to Bhante and ask him about this.
Sorry, life is too short to get into correcting other sites... In any case, I am not an expert. There are many others here and on DWM who know much more of the history, and plenty of threads about it here.

Mike

Saengnapha
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Re: Why is Mahaya

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:42 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:34 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:20 am
mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:11 am

There are far better sources! What you wrote/quoted sounded like complete nonsense, judging from what I've read in more reputable sources.

:heart:
Mike
Perhaps you should write to Bhante and ask him about this.
Sorry, life is too short to get into correcting other sites... In any case, I am not an expert. There are many others here and on DWM who know much more of the history, and plenty of threads about it here.

Mike
Personally, I think it is not very important and maybe not possible to get a definitive answer to something that happened more than 2000 years ago. Probably what Bhante said has some historical facts, but there may be others, and depending on one's agenda, all kinds of possibilities arise.

Saengnapha
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Re: Why is Mahaya

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:42 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:28 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:29 am
.....
I was being overly simplistic in my post, but what I said was taken from Bhante Punnaji's explanation of the split that occurred about 100 years after the Buddha's parinibbana.

When talking about Mahayana, there are many differences between the various Mahayana sects both in practice and theory. What does Nichiren have to do with Ch'an or Vajrayana? Sure, they all talk about Buddha's teaching, but imo, have been clouded over by ritual, philosophical debate, and without a clear path based on the Buddha's actual teachings.

In Theravada, you do have differences too, but they are rather minor compared to the Mahayana teachings. All I know is that the study of Theravada with its basis of 4 Noble Truths, 8 Fold Path, and study of paticca-samupadda, along with the EBT's are very direct, to the point, and devoid of many trappings that Mahayana serves up.
The story still does not match what we know of Buddhist history and makes little sense in a Buddhist context (arahant vs. Buddha were not used that way in the early texts, for example).

The comments on sectarian differences reminds me of the Catholic Church’s declaration that the distinctions between Luther’s theology and orthodox Catholic theology, over which thousands died for centuries, had only superficial interpretative differences, in no sense fundamental, and certainty not worth fighting about.

Chan, Nichiren, and Vajrayana are clearly based on shared common Mahayana teachings and are historically connected. Mahayana teachings are explicitly based on paticca-samupadda, the 4NT, etc., and claim to be a clear path based on the Buddha’s teaching. Ch’an, Nichiren, and Vajrayana are all famous for claiming, for good reasons, that they are the direct path, cutting through philosophical debates, and devoid of meaningless ritual. They are different, but these differences are not about basic doctrines.

None of them may be helpful for you. You may be attracted by one color robe or another. You don’t have to personally agree that any of them are correct, but the differences between them are not fundamental.

Zen and Nichiren would seem to be radically different on the surface. However, we can see in http://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings/ ... Letter.htm a marvelous example of how these superficial differences melt away as you go deeper. “It is one reality with two names, just as mochi and kachin are two names for the same thing, a rice-cake.”

I suspect that the differences between Theravada and Mahayana would as well.
May I ask what you practice?

SarathW
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Re: Why is Mahayana so different?

Post by SarathW » Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:11 am

I watched the full video series.
They are very good and recommend for viewing.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Caodemarte
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Re: Why is Mahayana least to my knees

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:56 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:42 am
....
Personally, I think it is not very important....
Then why would you raise it? :thinking:

I personally do not agree with, and have an aversion to, what I know of Nichiren (sorry Nuchiren fans), but I would never claim that Nichiren Buddhism was not part of Buddhism or that Nichiren was somehow unconnected to Mahayana Buddhism. Now I am packing to go off on a retreat so I will try to focus on more fundamental matters (like my already aching knees!). That is probably something we can all agree is important at least to my knees.

Saengnapha
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Re: Why is Mahaya

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:00 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:34 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:20 am
mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:11 am

There are far better sources! What you wrote/quoted sounded like complete nonsense, judging from what I've read in more reputable sources.

:heart:
Mike
Perhaps you should write to Bhante and ask him about this.
Sorry, life is too short to get into correcting other sites... In any case, I am not an expert. There are many others here and on DWM who know much more of the history, and plenty of threads about it here.

Mike
Just perusing the web and reading what others have written about the rise of Mahayana. It seems Punnaji's explanation is not far from this take found on Buddhanet: It is generally accepted, that what we know today as the Mahayana arose from the Mahasanghikas sect who were the earliest seceders, and the forerunners of the Mahayana. They took up the cause of their new sect with zeal and enthusiasm and in a few decades grew remarkably in power and popularity. They adapted the existing monastic rules and thus revolutionised the Buddhist Order of Monks. Moreover, they made alterations in the arrangements and interpretation of the Sutra (Discourses) and the Vinaya (Rules) texts. And they rejected certain portions of the canon which had been accepted in the First Council.

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mikenz66
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Re: Why is Mahaya

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:23 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:00 pm
mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:34 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:20 am


Perhaps you should write to Bhante and ask him about this.
Sorry, life is too short to get into correcting other sites... In any case, I am not an expert. There are many others here and on DWM who know much more of the history, and plenty of threads about it here.

Mike
Just perusing the web and reading what others have written about the rise of Mahayana. It seems Punnaji's explanation is not far from this take found on Buddhanet: It is generally accepted, that what we know today as the Mahayana arose from the Mahasanghikas sect who were the earliest seceders, and the forerunners of the Mahayana. They took up the cause of their new sect with zeal and enthusiasm and in a few decades grew remarkably in power and popularity. They adapted the existing monastic rules and thus revolutionised the Buddhist Order of Monks. Moreover, they made alterations in the arrangements and interpretation of the Sutra (Discourses) and the Vinaya (Rules) texts. And they rejected certain portions of the canon which had been accepted in the First Council.
All I am going to add is that that sounds like an extremely outdated view. See, even, the Wikipedia article on Mahayana, which gives a number of references that contradict those statements.

Mike

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Why is Mahayana so different?

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:01 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:26 am
she says, Buddha said "not one atom of our being is created by God."
According to some accounts of the Mahāyāna, the universe is created anew each world-cycle by the new Mahābrahmā of that world-cycle. It is sustained by the Viṣṇu of that world-cycle, and destroyed by the Śiva of that world-cycle. But in Buddhism the trimūrti are not eternal deities that are the same every iteration of a world-cycle. I don't know much about Hinduism, perhaps it is the same, perhaps not. Mahāyāna teaches that there are many Brahmā's & Śiva's currently in existence. There is a trimūrti for every world-system, and that trimūrti is described as "neither same nor not-same".

What she means is that the Buddha did not teach a dharma with a "One Maheśvara" (i.e. the Abrahamic God, singular & eternal) and a "One Creation".

The Mahāyāna, unlike the older dispensation of the historical person of the ascetic Gautama, grows up in a very vibrant but also very fractured already-Buddhist cultural milieu, and develops over a great deal of time. If we also consider Vajrayāna to be Mahāyāna, then the period of time over which the Mahāyāna forms is ever larger.

Therefore Mahāyāna discourse critiques things that the historical Buddha never heard of, like Abrahamic monotheism (the Tibetans specifically for example have much critique against Islam in their later literature that addresses it, for instance. The historical Buddha never encountered Islam, so could not react to it.).

In short, Mahāyāna reacts to different things than what the ascetic Gautama was reacting to and reacting with in establishing his teaching.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Why is Mahayana so different?

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:32 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:01 pm
No_Mind wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:26 am
she says, Buddha said "not one atom of our being is created by God."
But in Buddhism the trimūrti are not eternal deities that are the same every iteration of a world-cycle.
If I may be forgiven to elaborate. This is how it works, but only a small portion of Mahāyāna literature features overtly trimūrti-based cosmology:

Let's call "this" world-system "System A". Let's say an arbitrarily chosen world-system that occurs after the breakup of this one is "System B". A world-system that exists contemporaneously to both System A & B is called "System A2".

The Mahābrahmā of System A is not the Mahābrahmā of System A2 who, in turn, is not the Mahābrahmā of System B. This is because the Mahābrahmā of System A has X 心相續 ("mind-character-continuity" or "mind-dhātu-continuum", see cittasantāna/cittasaṃtati) and the Mahābrahmā of System A2 has Y 心相續 and the Mahābrahmā of System B has Z 心相續.

Three seperate 心相續. Three seperate sentient beings, but with the same qualities (i.e. the "quality" of being born as Brahmā, the "quality" of being born as Viṣṇu, etc. they share certain commonalities, such as creative, sustaining, and destroying tendencies, based on similar karma, but are neither the same beings collectively nor sequentially).
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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