Buddha can't help

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
binocular
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Re: Buddha can't help

Post by binocular » Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:41 am

steve19800 wrote:However, we, as a human being sometimes have a difficult/very/extremely difficult period. During this period or in any circumstances, as Buddha stated very clearly I cannot help you, you need to make your own self an island of refuge. But when you are going through a very difficult period and are in pain. You will think I need help.
/.../
Do you normally do this or you just doing nothing at all when you need help? Thanks.
I think it comes down to what the problem is that one desires to be helped about.

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Buddha can't help

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:48 am

steve19800 wrote:Referring to the worship of deities in some or in fact most/all Buddhist countries, can we ask why is this so? Does this mean the Hindu influence so strong or does that mean simply because the nature of a human being, we are fragile; need 'love' and protection?
Greed, Hatred, and Delusion are inherent in all ordinary human beings. The foolish majority will follow the crowd, and believe in all manner of superstitions. The true disciples of the Buddha should follow the opposite path leading away from attachment and ignorance, but most do not. Such superstitious Buddhists are easily influenced by Hinduism or other belief systems, that's why they are so afraid of the Moslems and Christians.
steve19800 wrote:There are many cases when a human being endowed with tremendous capability and knowledge unable to help another human being, get helped and cured by praying to certain Deva or God.
Are there? Or is it the case that superstitious people believe that the help came from a deity when it was due to their own kamma? There is a wise saying, “God helps those who help themselves.”

Buddhists recite protection discourses such as the Ratana Sutta or the Khandha Sutta for protection from dangers, but these Suttas are just Buddhānussati, Dhammānussati, and Sanghānussati or Mettābhāvanā. The disciple who has faith in the virtues of the Triple Gem, who observes the five precepts, and who practices loving-kindness need have no fear.

The most famous Paritta Sutta — the Mangala Sutta — explains how one can be assured of good fortune in the future. There is no mention there of praying to deities (though it dos say that one should show reverence to those worthy of respect), but only the cultivation of 38 wholesome practices beginning with the avoidance of fools (immoral people), and culminating in the attainment of Arahantship.
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steve19800
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Re: Buddha can't help

Post by steve19800 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:54 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
steve19800 wrote:Can you please refer me to the Devanussati, obviously this is not the same as Buddhanussati? Thanks.
The section on Recollection of Deities is found in the Visuddhimagga, Path of Purification p 221 (Vism.225), which refers to the Mahānāma Sutta (No.6) in the Book of Sixes (A.iii.287).

Basically, the disciple with faith recollects the various deities who have faith, virtue, generosity, etc., and reminds himself that he also has the same virtues.
Thanks for the link, I'll have a look.
The practice of recollection of Devanussati or paying homage to Buddha, Buddhanussati can lead you to a higher rebirth such as heaven. It is also said that in the Sutta that Monks should show the way for lay people to be reborn in the realm of happiness (heaven). But Buddha also mentioned that most beings in the heavenly realms are so intoxicated with sense desire hence those places are not a suitable place for practice. They will continue the cycle of birth and death once their good kamma is used up.
There are many ways of practicing that resulting in taking rebirth in higher realm, another one is taking and observing the eight precepts for instance. Since there are many causes which one will have the definite result? Everyone's kamma is different. For example In the Buddha time, there was a poor old lady who had nothing to give but dirty washed rice water. Her respect and generosity led her to take a rebirth in heavenly realm, maybe she herself did not know oh by practicing eight precepts will lead me to a happy destination.

To make it short, in one occassion Buddha said showing the way to heaven on the other hand heavenly realm is not our destination. Why is that so?
When you do the recollection of the noble qualities does it mean that you have to have a high standard of moral conduct for example. Because the text of recollection itself does not mention anything for instance what kind of virtue, faith, sila, etc. Of course sila in Buddhist teaching is important but there is occassion when Buddha advised other person about taking rebirth in heaven who may not be a Buddhist at that time.

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Buddha can't help

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:02 am

steve19800 wrote:To make it short, in one occassion Buddha said showing the way to heaven on the other hand heavenly realm is not our destination. Why is that so?
Because rebirth in heavenly realms is not the highest goal. In the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta we find this stock phrase used how the Buddha gave a graduated discourse in many different places:
dānakathaṃ sīlakathaṃ saggakathaṃ kāmānaṃ ādīnavaṃ okāraṃ saṃkilesaṃ nekkhamme ānisaṃsaṃ pakāsesi. Yadā te Bhagavā aññāsi kallacitte muducitte vinīvaraṇacitte udaggacitte pasannacitte, atha yā buddhānaṃ sāmukkaṃsikā dhammadesanā, taṃ pakāsesi — dukkhaṃ samudayaṃ nirodhaṃ maggaṃ.
That is (freely translated without looking it up) he first talked about the benefits of generosity, then morality, on the way to heaven, on the disadvantages of sensual pleasures, on the benefits of renunciation. Then, having made the minds of the listeners skilful, pliable, elevated, and gladdened, he taught the Dhamma unique to the Buddhas — suffering, its cause, its cessation, and the way to its cessation.
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mogg
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Re: Buddha can't help

Post by mogg » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:52 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
steve19800 wrote:To make it short, in one occassion Buddha said showing the way to heaven on the other hand heavenly realm is not our destination. Why is that so?
Because rebirth in heavenly realms is not the highest goal. In the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta we find this stock phrase used how the Buddha gave a graduated discourse in many different places:
dānakathaṃ sīlakathaṃ saggakathaṃ kāmānaṃ ādīnavaṃ okāraṃ saṃkilesaṃ nekkhamme ānisaṃsaṃ pakāsesi. Yadā te Bhagavā aññāsi kallacitte muducitte vinīvaraṇacitte udaggacitte pasannacitte, atha yā buddhānaṃ sāmukkaṃsikā dhammadesanā, taṃ pakāsesi — dukkhaṃ samudayaṃ nirodhaṃ maggaṃ.
That is (freely translated without looking it up) he first talked about the benefits of generosity, then morality, on the way to heaven, on the disadvantages of sensual pleasures, on the benefits of renunciation. Then, having made the minds of the listeners skilful, pliable, elevated, and gladdened, he taught the Dhamma unique to the Buddhas — suffering, its cause, its cessation, and the way to its cessation.
Such a beautiful teaching...even though I've read/heard it a hundred times before, I had shivers up my spine when I read that last paragraph. Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu

steve19800
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Re: Buddha can't help

Post by steve19800 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:05 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: Are there? Or is it the case that superstitious people believe that the help came from a deity when it was due to their own kamma? There is a wise saying, “God helps those who help themselves.”
What I meant was for example when doctor can't help. They are cured due to their own kamma but it needs certain conditions to make the kamma ripen in my opinion.
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: Buddhists recite protection discourses such as the Ratana Sutta or the Khandha Sutta for protection from dangers, but these Suttas are just Buddhānussati, Dhammānussati, and Sanghānussati or Mettābhāvanā. The disciple who has faith in the virtues of the Triple Gem, who observes the five precepts, and who practices loving-kindness need have no fear.
When you say I take refuge in the Buddha. What does taking refuge in someone who have attained parinibbana mean? Dhamma is teaching of Buddha and Sangha is the community of monks and nuns. And then we say recite Ratana and Khandha Sutta for protection from dangers but why not other Sutta? Could this be a much more complex process than we thought? Why we chant in Pali but not in Italian or other language for example and the answer from most people is because many great enlightened practitioner were using Pali language i.e. to chant and to recite the Sutta and it has been passed for many generations therefore it has its own vibration. I don't think if we chant Buddhanussati in Arabic for example will have the same benefit as we chant in Pali, let alone the virtues of the Triple Gem. I am not talking about metaphysics but since our historical Buddha is a Samma sambuddha, his attainment was known not only in the human realm but up to the highest heaven as well. This what makes his teachings and Suttas are so special IMO.

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: The most famous Paritta Sutta — the Mangala Sutta — explains how one can be assured of good fortune in the future. There is no mention there of praying to deities (though it dos say that one should show reverence to those worthy of respect), but only the cultivation of 38 wholesome practices beginning with the avoidance of fools (immoral people), and culminating in the attainment of Arahantship.
While I believe that our own good kamma is helping us but at the same time I also believe that during our wandering in the Samsara we have created many affinities and connections with many beings whether they are good or bad. Some of them maybe still with us as a family member but was our wife/husband or maybe they are not with us in this lifetime in the human realm. These connections can be strong or weak depending on how deep our relationship with them. Buddhists are not praying asking for help from God but Gods become God because of the result of their virtues and wholesome conducts. Lower beings for example because of their strong hatred or jealousy might do harm to other people although maybe we might not be able to see them. The same thing with God. I think it is more to the level and understanding of the practice. But in my opinion, Devas do exist, our affinity to other sentient beings do exist as well. If unseen beings can do harm to us then why unseen beings can't do good to us?

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Kusala
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Re: Buddha can't help

Post by Kusala » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:57 am

steve19800 wrote:Hello all,

Buddha has attained parinibbana, it is said that he has gone beyond, just like a bird in the sky untraceable. The enlightened mind as mentioned by Ajahn Chah is unmoving thus cannot be recognized, there are also some Suttas about Mara who are unable to recognized or to locate the Buddha enlightened disciple's mind. Not to sure which Sutta is that, does anyone know?

Anyway, back to the topic. However, we, as a human being sometimes have a difficult/very/extremely difficult period. During this period or in any circumstances, as Buddha stated very clearly I cannot help you, you need to make your own self an island of refuge. But when you are going through a very difficult period and are in pain. You will think I need help. And then you know there are higher beings within the realm of samsara might still be able to hear your prayer so to speak? For example certain Gods or Deities or Bodhisattas? Hindu has many such as Krishna, Lakshmi, etc. I never practice that but they are powerful. They have their own mantra and purpose. Of course our kamma also important, however, there are too many cases to prove. If you are very sincere, you will get help from them.

Buddha himself was a Hindu. He perfected his parami through incalculable cycle of birth and death, became Buddha and then there is Buddhism. From my point of view, Buddha has attained the highest evolution a human being could possibly attained. While we are as lay people is not an exception. I just want to know what is your thought on this, Gods or Brahmas can hear you, they are sharing the same realm with us. Do you normally do this or you just doing nothing at all when you need help? Thanks.
"The Buddha was not a Hindu. Sri Shankara (788 CE-820 CE) systematized and founded what the British later dubbed "Hinduism" (the disparate and incomprehensibly diverse practices and views from the Indus River Valley). Shankara organized the commonalities and developed sets of beliefs we would now recognize as "Hindu." But he was very antagonistic towards Buddhism. He reduced the Buddha to a avatar -- an incarnation of the God Vishnu.

And brahmins, to reassert their top status (called into question by the noble-warrior caste Buddha and shramans), invented the story of Vishnu coming down to mislead purposely mislead people away from "Eternal Dharma" (an epithet Hinduism uses for itself). The average Hindu has no idea about any of this. They simply regard the co-opted Buddha as yet another holy man, sage, or avatar, of which there are so many in Hinduism as to stagger the imagination.

Hindu founder Shankara did all he could to destroy Buddhism in India, and Muslim/Islamic marauder completed the task. But by then Buddhism had already become a universal missionary religion, that went on to inspire and lend much to the Earth's two other "world religions," Christianity and Islam."


http://wisdomquarterly.blogspot.com/201 ... wrong.html
Image

"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

--------------------------------------------
"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "

santa100
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Re: Buddha can't help

Post by santa100 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:46 pm

Steve19800:
But in my opinion, Devas do exist, our affinity to other sentient beings do exist as well. If unseen beings can do harm to us then why unseen beings can't do good to us?
I think if the Devas or Bodhisattvas could help us, they'd only be able to help out in accordance with the individual's kamma. Since you mentioned Avalokiteshvara, let's imagine a scenario as follow. Say two persons traveling on a boat, one breaks all the Five Precepts of killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech, and taking intoxicant while the other fully observes all the Five Precepts. Then the storm came and the boat broke in half, both men prayed to Avalokiteshvara. Being a Bodhisattva of boundless compassion as he is, Avalo would obviously try to save both of them. But whether His rescue effort is successful for both guys, it's really up to the individual kamma of those two folks. So ultimately it's really up to the individual's own effort, not up to Avalo. Like Ven. Pesala has said, be a good person, observe the Five Precepts and one will have no worry..

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ground
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Re: Buddha can't help

Post by ground » Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:52 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:We just need to be inspired by the example set by wise and good beings, and try to emulate them.
That is actually the main practice in other traditions but it seems to be a general human mode of dealing with certain cicumstances. :sage:

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ground
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Re: Buddha can't help

Post by ground » Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:08 am

steve19800 wrote:But do you think there are many level of practice? Obviously the self-reliance one is the most advanced and hardest one IMO.
Self reliance in the context of knowing the merely dependent arising of the sense of self is the most efficient way. Self reliance in the context of taking the merely dependently arisen sense of self as self the most futile one. :sage:

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ground
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Re: Buddha can't help

Post by ground » Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:24 am

And then you may also have compassion with yourself and consider yourself to be like a little child. If this little child wants to pray, hey why not let it pray? If it helps and the child feels better then let it have its way. This may foster your capacity for metta and compassion towards others and thus in a very wondrous way overcome the inclination to expect help from the outside :sage:

binocular
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Re: Buddha can't help

Post by binocular » Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:16 am

ground wrote:Self reliance in the context of knowing the merely dependent arising of the sense of self is the most efficient way. Self reliance in the context of taking the merely dependently arisen sense of self as self the most futile one.
Thank you for this distinction!

Self reliance in the context of taking the merely dependently arisen sense of self as self - this is what we are taught in Western culture. We are expected to somehow stand tall in the face of considering ourselves transient, epiphenomenal. And yet some people seem to be ale to do it. I have no idea how they manage to do it. Although I do envy them.

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