Is mahayana Buddism?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Dan74
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by Dan74 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:55 am

suttametta wrote:
Dan74 wrote:But I do not think this desribes the limits of Mahayana and when you said that it is a hindrance, I think you overstated your case.
Mahayana says Sravakayana is a hindrance, that Arahats are frozen in a one-sided samadhi. It is this claim from Mahayana that I am saying is false. It creates doubt in the sravakayana practitioner. This is what I'm calling a hindrance.
Thank you for clarifying that.

I guess I took that statement to go with your earlier one
It is their views about not the extreme of nirvana and not the extreme of samsara that keeps them in samsara.
which I still don't quite understand in the context of Mahayana practice. Could you elaborate?
_/|\_

suttametta
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by suttametta » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:41 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
suttametta wrote:Mahayana says Sravakayana is a hindrance, that Arahats are frozen in a one-sided samadhi. It is this claim from Mahayana that I am saying is false. It creates doubt in the sravakayana practitioner. This is what I'm calling a hindrance.
This is an over-generalization. The Mahāyāna includes a number of different currents encompassing many historical developments occurring over a thousand year period in India. There are numerous early Mahāyāna texts that don't make this claim at all. Moreover, there are Tibetan & Western authors who interpret Nāgārjuna and Candrakīrti as maintaining that a noble disciple has the same discernment of emptiness as an advanced noble bodhisattva.
I am aware of that, but there aren't any traditions living that go with it.

suttametta
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by suttametta » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:42 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
  • "There is no contradiction in the fact that for a Mahayanist, Hinayana is an obstacle to full enlightenment, but for one in the Hinayana lineage, it is a method for full enlightenment." sNgags rim chen mo in TANTRA IN TIBET, trans by J. Hopkins p 103.
Very strange statement.

suttametta
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by suttametta » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:44 pm

Dan74 wrote:
It is their views about not the extreme of nirvana and not the extreme of samsara that keeps them in samsara.
which I still don't quite understand in the context of Mahayana practice. Could you elaborate?
Basically, the Mahayana is denigrating Nirvana so one won't get it, as if it is an obstacle.

Nyana
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by Nyana » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:19 pm

suttametta wrote:I am aware of that, but there aren't any traditions living that go with it.
Yes, Mahāyāna traditions generally have had to resort to various novel syncretic interpretive strategies to try to make a coherent bodhisattva path out of the vast and diverse body of Indian Mahāyāna texts. Meaningful scriptural authority is problematic in this context. Even moreso in this modern era where textual criticism and historical evidences have established that the Mahāyāna texts have no direct link to the historical Buddha.

However, as far as quality of teachings is concerned, and internal consistency, nothing else comes even close to matching the Pāli Nikāyas. Personally, this is why the Nikāyas are the only corpus of Buddhist discourses that I consider to be authoritative, or am willing to recommend to others without reservation.

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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by Nyana » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:30 pm

suttametta wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
  • "There is no contradiction in the fact that for a Mahayanist, Hinayana is an obstacle to full enlightenment, but for one in the Hinayana lineage, it is a method for full enlightenment." sNgags rim chen mo in TANTRA IN TIBET, trans by J. Hopkins p 103.
Very strange statement.
He's attempting to differentiate between sammāsambodhi and sāvakabodhi.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:30 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
suttametta wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
  • "There is no contradiction in the fact that for a Mahayanist, Hinayana is an obstacle to full enlightenment, but for one in the Hinayana lineage, it is a method for full enlightenment." sNgags rim chen mo in TANTRA IN TIBET, trans by J. Hopkins p 103.
Very strange statement.
He's attempting to differentiate between sammāsambodhi and sāvakabodhi.
That is not how I would read it.
>> 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

Nyana
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by Nyana » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:16 am

tiltbillings wrote:That is now how I would read it.
I'm guessing that you meant to say "not" instead of "now"?

Anyway, I should have read the entire passage in context. Je Tsongkhapa is referring to aspiration, hence although a hīnayāna aspiration will benefit oneself and leads to happiness, it is still an obstacle for a boddhisattva. The larger context is that he is trying to correlate the three vehicle notion with the one vehicle notion (ekayāna) where all paths eventually lead to buddhahood.

suttametta
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by suttametta » Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:24 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:That is now how I would read it.
I'm guessing that you meant to say "not" instead of "now"?

Anyway, I should have read the entire passage in context. Je Tsongkhapa is referring to aspiration, hence although a hīnayāna aspiration will benefit oneself and leads to happiness, it is still an obstacle for a boddhisattva. The larger context is that he is trying to correlate the three vehicle notion with the one vehicle notion (ekayāna) where all paths eventually lead to buddhahood.
When the method of mindfulness incorporates a mind endowed with the four immeasurables, you have the same attitude that Mahayana prioritizes. In Gongchig, Jigten Sumgon says that the four immeasurables are the essence of a Buddha (although in the Pali texts the Buddha equates the four immeasurables with the four formless perceptions). So again, Mahayana fails to offer something over and above what is already there, besides disparaging remarks. In the Drikung Kagyu dedication prayer, Jigten Sumgon writes, "I pray that I will not become a sravaka or a prateykabuddha, due to the four causes of samsara or the eight worldly dharmas." The idea is that someone would only revert to the lower vehicle due to ignorance and greed, etc.

I would further argue that the methods in Vajrayana which are claimed to be very fast are actually slower than the four mindfulness methods, due to the way Mahayana has misinterpreted the dynamic between samatha and vipassana as temporally staggered, and also misinterpreting samatha to mean focused concentration and vipassana to mean an insight akin to an intellectual understanding. The misunderstanding also turns on a misinterpretation of avidya to be ignorance of knowledge, rather than unconsciousness of a running process. Whereas, what makes the Pali method faster is that samatha and vipassana are seen to be simultaneous, where samatha is an effortless relaxation and vipassana is directly perceiving the process of perception. There is a super-efficiency with the original thrust of the Buddha's method.

When viewed in this light, Buddha really was telling the truth in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta when he said he wasn't holding anything back, and wasn't making any distinction between esoteric and exoteric (wasn't using skillful means for the sravakas who can only understand dharma up to their level, but simultaneously giving hidden Mahayana teachings to other higher level students).

suttametta
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by suttametta » Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:38 pm

PS The Gongchig quote above is another example of how Vajrayana in particular has promoted samsaric methods to the level of buddhahood, thus having performed a bait and switch, where you think you are getting buddhahood, but you are not beyond samsara. I am asserting that the highest methods of Vajrayana and Dzogchen related to the "Clear Light Mind," are at the level of the form realm of the Pabhassara Brahmas which is why they can attain a form body like the rainbow body.

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Dan74
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by Dan74 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:53 pm

This may all be so. I don't see this in Zen practice that I have experienced, but perhaps I have not gone far enough to make any reasonable judgments.

I think it would make a lot of sense to post it where there could be people with comparable experience who could really appreciate what you are saying, be in the position to respond and to benefit from your insights. Like dharmawheel.net perhaps?

This would surely be worthwhile.
Last edited by Dan74 on Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
_/|\_

Nyana
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by Nyana » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:15 pm

suttametta wrote:When viewed in this light, Buddha really was telling the truth in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta when he said he wasn't holding anything back, and wasn't making any distinction between esoteric and exoteric (wasn't using skillful means for the sravakas who can only understand dharma up to their level, but simultaneously giving hidden Mahayana teachings to other higher level students).
Sure. You won't get any argument out of me. The Mahāyāna criticisms of sāvakas and arahants are baseless, and the use of pejorative language (i.e. "hīnayāna") is a problem for contemporary Mahāyāna traditions to deal with, not a problem for Theravāda.

whynotme
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by whynotme » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:04 am

suttametta wrote: I would further argue that the methods in Vajrayana which are claimed to be very fast are actually slower than the four mindfulness methods, due to the way Mahayana has misinterpreted the dynamic between samatha and vipassana as temporally staggered, and also misinterpreting samatha to mean focused concentration and vipassana to mean an insight akin to an intellectual understanding. The misunderstanding also turns on a misinterpretation of avidya to be ignorance of knowledge, rather than unconsciousness of a running process. Whereas, what makes the Pali method faster is that samatha and vipassana are seen to be simultaneous, where samatha is an effortless relaxation and vipassana is directly perceiving the process of perception. There is a super-efficiency with the original thrust of the Buddha's method.
Yeah, many thanks, you pointed out very good points.

I saw something similar not only in Vajrayana but Mahayana in general. They misunderstand samatha as focused concentration which lead to a not efficient and also very long way of suppressing the mind. Traditions like zen claimed faster or the fastest by direct panna, but actually slower and inferior due to the lack of right understanding of samatha and the right goal. It is something like tactics vs strategy, mahayana may create some efficient tactics but it set obstacles to the long term strategy, that why the Buddha didn't apply those methods. I.e lying may help you achieve something faster but in general, it blocks long term benefits. The main problem of the mind is unconscious state which is similar to modern psychology, but mahayana made it look like the main problem is of understanding. If it is the problem of knowledge, better to say it is the knowledge about the unconscious. Because lacking the right understanding, most people can't get anywhere so they think it is very hard so they turn their focus to non meat eating, worship,..

What modern psychology lacks is the right understanding of the goal, and also its material view is a problem.

Regards
Please stop following me

whynotme
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by whynotme » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:36 am

Dear suttameta,

It seems you spent many dedicated time for the spiritual path, are you a bhikkhu?

Regards
Please stop following me

suttametta
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Re: Is mahayana Buddism?

Post by suttametta » Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:28 pm

whynotme wrote:Dear suttameta,

It seems you spent many dedicated time for the spiritual path, are you a bhikkhu?

Regards
No. But I do dedicate a lot of time to practice.

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