What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
SarathW
Posts: 9581
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?

Post by SarathW » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:47 am

What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

User avatar
Wizard in the Forest
Posts: 631
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:16 am
Location: House in Forest of Illusions

Re: What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:39 am

If I remember correctly the Mahayana practicioners consider the Arahant disciple to have inferior enlightenment or fallibility compared to a sammasambuddha. A kind of heirarchy of enlightenment where a disciple doesn't get real wisdom from nibbana. Many of their suttas have the Buddha chastising his wisest disciple, Venerable Sariputta, after he is already an Arahant, about various higher teachings.

Nibbana itself is also considerably different in concept as I have heard there is no real difference between samsara and nibbana to a Mahayana practicioner. It is merely a conventional truth, while the ultimate truth is that samsara and nibbana are empty of inherent existence.

This is supposed to get rid of grasping to the notion of nibbana and to get rid of dualistic thought, but I came to the conclusion that it also drove people to wrongly embrace samsara and to avoid trying to become an Arahant disciple in favor of trying to become a future sammasambuddha. For some people it drives them to develop more parami which is good. For others it slackens their effort and practice to attain liberation in the Buddha's dispensation in the here and now, in favor of only developing merit and that's bad.

Then again many people in Theravada are also slack and only focus on merit rather than meditation so it is not a Mahayana exclusive problem.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 5760
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?

Post by Aloka » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:26 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:47 am
What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?
Fistly you're missing out Vajrayana, and secondly there are some very different schools which are all labelled "Mahayana".

This chart from Buddhanet (which I haven't read myself) may, or may not be helpful.

https://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/hi ... chools.htm


:)

WorldTraveller
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:07 am

Re: What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?

Post by WorldTraveller » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:06 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:47 am
What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?
Mahayana Buddhas are celestial Buddhas who lives forever and ever and ever. Sometimes their manifested body comes to earth, for example, our Gautama Buddha said to be a manifestation of Vairocana Buddha.

User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 5760
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?

Post by Aloka » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:08 am

What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?
Here is a short excerpt of a Vajrayana interpretation of Buddhahood from Ringu Tulku's book "Path to Buddhahood - Teachings on Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation," from the chapter "Perfect Buddhahood "page 150:

First, the nature of Buddhahood : " A truly perfect Buddha is the best possible purity and the best possible purity (jnana)." A buddha has purified everything that needs to be purified and has awakened all the wisdom that needed to be awakened. All beings, whether human or non human, have this potential, this essentially pure nature, hidden beneath their confusion and ignorance. In order to discover this original inner purity we have to awaken the wisdom that's within us; this naturally purifies all our negativity, confusion and ignorance.

These two aspects, the purification of negativity and the awakening of wisdom are essentially the same thing. In fact as soon as our true nature is awakened, our confusion and negativity are automatically purified. One becomes a Buddha when this process is perfectly accomplished. The different phases on the bodhisattva path correspond to levels of purification and the simultaneous awakening of wisdom.

.
Last edited by Aloka on Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

auto
Posts: 315
Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:02 pm

Re: What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?

Post by auto » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:08 am

Mahayana is a vehicle, it teaches how to spin the wheels.
Theravada is teachings of the elders.

No matter what you learn or practice, eventually you have to turn towards mahayana(not a tradition but a vehicle)

Suttas are suttas. Mahayana sutras speaks of hinayana where clinging to body is still there. What is also told in Suttas inferior and superior person distinction in MN suttas.

Like HHDL tell in other video you posted its just difference in language, sanskrit and pali.

---
So what you ask i was OT, sorry.

auto
Posts: 315
Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:02 pm

Re: What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?

Post by auto » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:44 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:39 am
If I remember correctly the Mahayana practicioners consider the Arahant disciple to have inferior enlightenment or fallibility compared to a sammasambuddha. A kind of heirarchy of enlightenment where a disciple doesn't get real wisdom from nibbana. Many of their suttas have the Buddha chastising his wisest disciple, Venerable Sariputta, after he is already an Arahant, about various higher teachings.

Nibbana itself is also considerably different in concept as I have heard there is no real difference between samsara and nibbana to a Mahayana practicioner. It is merely a conventional truth, while the ultimate truth is that samsara and nibbana are empty of inherent existence.

This is supposed to get rid of grasping to the notion of nibbana and to get rid of dualistic thought, but I came to the conclusion that it also drove people to wrongly embrace samsara and to avoid trying to become an Arahant disciple in favor of trying to become a future sammasambuddha. For some people it drives them to develop more parami which is good. For others it slackens their effort and practice to attain liberation in the Buddha's dispensation in the here and now, in favor of only developing merit and that's bad.

Then again many people in Theravada are also slack and only focus on merit rather than meditation so it is not a Mahayana exclusive problem.
Ok,
Buddhahood is gotten by firstly becoming bodhisatva, bodhisatva is a

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhisattva
In Buddhism, Bodhisattva (/ˌboʊdiːˈsʌtvə/ BOH-dee-SUT-və)[1] is the Sanskrit term for anyone who has generated Bodhicitta, a spontaneous wish and compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.

User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 5760
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?

Post by Aloka » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:55 am

WorldTraveller wrote:Mahayana Buddhas are celestial Buddhas who lives forever and ever and ever. Sometimes their manifested body comes to earth, for example, our Gautama Buddha said to be a manifestation of Vairocana Buddha.
So are these the beliefs in Zen, Nirichen, and Soka Gakkai, as well as Pure Land ?

I very much doubt that the historical Buddha announced that he was a manifestation of Vairocana.

.
Last edited by Aloka on Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 5760
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?

Post by Aloka » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:31 pm

Correction

my quote from "Path to Buddhahood" in a post above this one which says:
A truly perfect Buddha is the best possible purity and the best possible purity (jnana).
was a mistake and should say:

"A truly perfect Buddha is the best possible purity and the best possible primordial wisdom (jnana)."


:anjali:

User avatar
Grigoris
Posts: 281
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:43 am

Re: What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:09 pm

"What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?"

Nothing, they are both concepts and thus essentially empty of meaning.
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

User avatar
Wizard in the Forest
Posts: 631
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:16 am
Location: House in Forest of Illusions

Re: What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:40 pm

@ Auto

A Bodhisatta is an unenlightened being. One who can become a Buddha, it is not a guarantee unless someone develops the parami to become one. To say it is anything other than an unenlightened being is doing yourself and many others a disservice.

We live in the dispensation of the Buddha, and we're met with a unique opportunity to know the Dhamma and be enlightened as a disciple of the Buddha failure to develop the path and the fruits because of slackened effort is to reject the gift he went through various unfathomable and incalculable eons to achieve. Being an enlightened disciple of a perfectly enlightened Buddha is good. If you put every effort to become enlightened in this life and do not achieve the path and the fruits of stream winning, something attained by having faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and the Sangha; morality incapable of sending you to hell; release of personality view; release of rites and rituals not connected to the path, then at least you tried and it grants you a chance at enough parami to make a pitch later for Buddhahood. That is acceptable. There is a lot of people who have ahetuka and dihetuka consciousness, and it's ok for them to put their all into achieve Buddhahood and fail. Their efforts are not in vain.

What I don't agree with and every realistic Mahayana teacher should agree with me on this, is that the path to Buddhahood is for those who slacken their efforts to avoid becoming a Disciple Buddha. That is not going to work. Becoming a fully enlightened Buddha takes incalculable eons to develop the right kind of parami, if anything it means one should double, triple, omniple, their efforts if becoming a fully self enlightened Buddha is their goal. Even if this development of parami were to go developed without a hitch, perhaps your next birth would be one where you are actually incapable of teaching others. The Universe is vast, and life is likely elsewhere. No one said your birth would be anywhere on Earth or even anywhere near it. Your fullest efforts may lead to you becoming a Pacceka Buddha, and even if this is true, it's OK. Your efforts were still not in vain if you become a Pacceka Buddha, the eons spent to become a Pacceka Buddha is also unfathomable and a Pacceka Buddha is a fully self-enlightened Buddha. Homage would rightly be yours. It should be reminded here that I'm not saying you shouldn't become a self-enlightened Buddha, I'm saying it's not for the lazy or those avoiding Disciplehood.

Should you come in Metteya's dispensation, and you have a tihetuka consciousness do not hesitate to become a Disciple Buddha either. Should you have and develop the immense amount of Parami to become a Sammasambuddha, then I will applaud your efforts, but I'm telling you it will never happen for anyone who does not contribute enough effort to do so.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

User avatar
Zom
Posts: 2093
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg
Contact:

Re: What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?

Post by Zom » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:54 pm

Short answer: in Mahayana Buddha is a God.

User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 5760
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?

Post by Aloka » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:00 pm

Zom wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:54 pm
Short answer: in Mahayana Buddha is a God.
Source, please?

.

User avatar
Zom
Posts: 2093
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg
Contact:

Re: What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?

Post by Zom » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:02 pm

Mahayanic texts is the source. Of course they don't call him A God, but all attributes are there.

User avatar
Grigoris
Posts: 281
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:43 am

Re: What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddhahood?

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:23 pm

Zom wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:02 pm
Mahayanic texts is the source. Of course they don't call him A God, but all attributes are there.
Complete and utter (ignorant) nonsense.
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 45 guests