Buddha and Mahavira

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
binocular
Posts: 6579
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Buddha and Mahavira

Post by binocular » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:09 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Saddha (faith or confidence) is an important factor along the path, especially at the beginning. One need not be an arahant to have saddha. It appears in the 5 faculties, 5 powers, 37 factors of enlightenment and probably elsewhere too in the teachings.
I have no doubt about the importance of faith.

I question, though, how it is sometimes expressed. Primarily, when people who have only faith, nevertheless speak as if they had total certainty, as if they had already obtained the fruit of what that faith is supposed to lead to.
It almost seems like it's the norm to do so.

You're doing a good job in the role of the "10th man" of DW. :tongue:
Keep up the good work. :thumbsup:
That, too, is impermanent.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

form
Posts: 1212
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:23 am

Re: Buddha and Mahavira

Post by form » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:32 pm

To me, the similarities between the background could be a common way ancient Indians like to cast founders for their religions. Either that, or it was the fashion of that day for someone from high background to renounce to rebel against the conventional belief system style.

The account of one must be under a certain label (of belief system) right from the start, then one can progress to the highest level is also very common among many religions including Buddhism. This contradicts with the "dharma is a raft", and quite a few converted disciples from other systems quickly progress to the highest level shortly after instructed by the Buddha (meaning the foundations need not be built from one label).

davidbrainerd
Posts: 1011
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 3:12 am

Re: Buddha and Mahavira

Post by davidbrainerd » Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:31 pm

I wouldn't be surprised to find instances in Buddhist texts of Buddha being called Mahavira (Great Hero) if you read them in the original language. Check this out https://books.google.com/books?id=Pw0q_ ... 22&f=false Is that a Buddhist text being quoted? Doing a search for "vairocanabbisambodhitantra" to find out, I stumbled upon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahavairocana_Tantra Note the name, "Mahavairocana Tantra", an explicitely a Buddhist text. Is it the same one? Obviously related to Tibetan Buddhism more than Theravada, but note this "Vairocana (also Vairochana or Mahāvairocana, Sanskrit: वैरोचन) is a celestial buddha who is often interpreted, in texts like the Flower Garland Sutra, as the Dharma Body[1][2][3] of the historical Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama)." ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vairocana )

User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 1914
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:55 pm
Location: Whitby, Canada

Re: Buddha and Mahavira

Post by Coëmgenu » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:43 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:I wouldn't be surprised to find instances in Buddhist texts of Buddha being called Mahavira (Great Hero) if you read them in the original language. Check this out https://books.google.com/books?id=Pw0q_ ... 22&f=false Is that a Buddhist text being quoted? Doing a search for "vairocanabbisambodhitantra" to find out, I stumbled upon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahavairocana_Tantra Note the name, "Mahavairocana Tantra", an explicitely a Buddhist text. Is it the same one? Obviously related to Tibetan Buddhism more than Theravada, but note this "Vairocana (also Vairochana or Mahāvairocana, Sanskrit: वैरोचन) is a celestial buddha who is often interpreted, in texts like the Flower Garland Sutra, as the Dharma Body[1][2][3] of the historical Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama)." ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vairocana )
Mahāvairocana means "Great (X) which proceedeth from the Sun", or "Great Illumination" (one could even say "Great Sunbeam Buddha"). It is not related etymologically to Mahavira. But there is still a possible syncretic connection in the figure. He is very similar to Vishnu in many respects, who in the trimurti is the "upholder". Mahavairocana plays a similar role in some Buddhisms.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
如無為,如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

form
Posts: 1212
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:23 am

Re: Buddha and Mahavira

Post by form » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:28 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:I wouldn't be surprised to find instances in Buddhist texts of Buddha being called Mahavira (Great Hero) if you read them in the original language. Check this out https://books.google.com/books?id=Pw0q_ ... 22&f=false Is that a Buddhist text being quoted? Doing a search for "vairocanabbisambodhitantra" to find out, I stumbled upon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahavairocana_Tantra Note the name, "Mahavairocana Tantra", an explicitely a Buddhist text. Is it the same one? Obviously related to Tibetan Buddhism more than Theravada, but note this "Vairocana (also Vairochana or Mahāvairocana, Sanskrit: वैरोचन) is a celestial buddha who is often interpreted, in texts like the Flower Garland Sutra, as the Dharma Body[1][2][3] of the historical Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama)." ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vairocana )
That is why we have to be very careful in interpreting translation. Even if one know pali, without very good background in ancient Indian philosophy, it is easy to misinterpret the pali canon.

Bakmoon
Posts: 637
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 3:14 pm

Re: Buddha and Mahavira

Post by Bakmoon » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:37 pm

I personally suspect that good chunks of the traditional biography of the Buddha that aren't from the Suttas are likely drawn from stories of Mahavira. Beyond that I think the biggest connection between Buddhism and Jainism is that when the Bodhisatta was practicing self-mortification, he was probably doing so under a theory of kamma very similar to the Jain theory, and that would also explain why the Buddha gave detailed criticism of the Jain theory of kamma in the Suttas.

There are technical terms in common in both traditions (such as Kamma, Asava, etc...) but in terms of the actual content of those teachings they are quite different, so I suspect the Buddha might have chosen those words because they were already in people's vocabulary, but chose to give them new meanings.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

form
Posts: 1212
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:23 am

Re: Buddha and Mahavira

Post by form » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:30 pm

Bakmoon wrote:I personally suspect that good chunks of the traditional biography of the Buddha that aren't from the Suttas are likely drawn from stories of Mahavira. Beyond that I think the biggest connection between Buddhism and Jainism is that when the Bodhisatta was practicing self-mortification, he was probably doing so under a theory of kamma very similar to the Jain theory, and that would also explain why the Buddha gave detailed criticism of the Jain theory of kamma in the Suttas.

There are technical terms in common in both traditions (such as Kamma, Asava, etc...) but in terms of the actual content of those teachings they are quite different, so I suspect the Buddha might have chosen those words because they were already in people's vocabulary, but chose to give them new meanings.
These are very logical assumptions, things develop with causes and conditions. Unfortunately, in the suttas there are superstitious content that tend to dictate one's thinking via clinging. It is ironical that freedom is the big if not a final goal in Buddhism.

User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 4663
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Jaroen Dhamma Cave, Mae Wang Huai Rin, Lamphun

Re: Buddha and Mahavira

Post by Dhammanando » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:57 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:I wouldn't be surprised to find instances in Buddhist texts of Buddha being called Mahavira (Great Hero) if you read them in the original language.
Sure, it's a stock epithet. All Indian religious eminences get called 'mahāvīra' by somebody or other, just as all of them get called 'bhagvan' by somebody or other.

In the Buddha's case 'mahāvīra' is used of him 258 times in the Pali Tipiṭaka. One will find it in both the Vinaya Piṭaka and in all five Nikāyas of the Sutta Piṭaka, but most frequently in the verse texts of the Khuddaka Nikāya.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

User avatar
Ceisiwr
Posts: 5395
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Buddha and Mahavira

Post by Ceisiwr » Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:20 am

Which is more likely?

A) Buddha and Mahāvīra were two different people with very similar biographies.

B) They were the same person and so Buddhism is a splinter group from Jainism which invented a founder based on Mahavira.

C) They were two different people but Buddhists copied some of Mahavira’s biography (possibly for propaganda purposes)

D) Both were real and both have embellished biographies using some kind of standard template for religious founders of the time (possibly for propaganda purposes)

E) Both never existed. Both biographies are pure fabrication.

F) The Jains partially copied the Buddha’s biography after the famine (which they say resulted in a loss of most of their original sutras and teachings).

User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 4663
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Jaroen Dhamma Cave, Mae Wang Huai Rin, Lamphun

Re: Buddha and Mahavira

Post by Dhammanando » Sun Apr 28, 2019 7:31 am

clw_uk wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:20 am
A) Buddha and Mahāvīra were two different people with very similar biographies.
Possibly. I mean outwardly the career of one successful samaṇa teacher would probably have looked pretty much like that of another.
clw_uk wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:20 am
B) They were the same person and so Buddhism is a splinter group from Jainism which invented a founder based on Mahavira.
Not likely. One would have expected Jaina propagandists to advertize this from the get go, instead of which they waited many centuries (till a time when Buddhism and Ajīvakaism had grown into serious competitors) to tell a quite different story, namely, that the Buddha and Makkhali Gosāla were both deviant disciples of Mahāvīra who came to a Devadatta-like end.
clw_uk wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:20 am
C) They were two different people but Buddhists copied some of Mahavira’s biography (possibly for propaganda purposes)

D) Both were real and both have embellished biographies using some kind of standard template for religious founders of the time (possibly for propaganda purposes)
These would be the sort of possibilities that saddhā-less academic historians would be likely to favour.
clw_uk wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:20 am
E) Both never existed. Both biographies are pure fabrication.
I think Occam's razor weighs against this. All proposed alternatives require the positing of more unproven assumptions than that which treats their lives as having some historical basis.
clw_uk wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:20 am
F) The Jains partially copied the Buddha’s biography after the famine (which they say resulted in a loss of most of their original sutras and teachings).
Not likely, I think. Even if the story of Jaina textual losses is true, the biography of the teacher would likely have proven quite resilient, being preserved in folk memory.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

User avatar
Ceisiwr
Posts: 5395
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Buddha and Mahavira

Post by Ceisiwr » Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:39 pm

Thanks for the reply. Some things there I hadn't considered.

User avatar
AgarikaJ
Posts: 246
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:21 pm

Re: Buddha and Mahavira

Post by AgarikaJ » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:43 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 7:31 am
clw_uk wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:20 am
A) Buddha and Mahāvīra were two different people with very similar biographies.
Possibly. I mean outwardly the career of one successful samaṇa teacher would probably have looked pretty much like that of another.
The similarities are easily explainable by both coming from a small geographical region with close cultural ties which went through a great religious revolution. Of course their biographies and their messages are similar.

If one reads stories about the Buddha's finding of enlightenment, his trials of asceticism, then it becomes clear that he (and Mahavira) were part of a much larger movement of related and similar thoughts and teachings. In the Suttas, some of those teachers are criticized by name, but this is the only record of them ever having existed; but they had their own large following then.

Both the Buddha and Mahavira are the only two who could gain a large enough number of disciples to develop a lasting impression on history, but during their lifetime they were just two of many. I am sure that the teachings of the Dhamma would not in itself have sounded especially remarkable to the average person of the time, as the Buddha differed only in detail from many other teachers.

In the end, the Buddha was a master in promotion/branding (he developed robes that made his disciples stand out from all the other brands of ascetics and monastics of his time) and by going a less extreme ascetic way he allowed access for a larger percentage of people than his more extreme competition (not to forget: women!). By looking for approval and patronage in royal and noble circles he was also able to gain a critical reach for his message. And additionally he had the good luck of finding disciples who portrayed his message faithfully, instead of trying to commandeer it posthumously for their own gain.

Contrary to many of his compatriots, he was not the lone ascetic in the forest and he did not center his teachings around his person; in the beginning of this thread there is a discussion if it would matter, if the historical person of the Buddha as described in the Suttas actually did exist... as he only demonstrated what every of us must do individually to achieve Nibbana, I believe it actually does not matter at all.

He gave us a cooking recipe, not the finished cake, so he as the baker is not necessary.
The teaching is a lake with shores of ethics, unclouded, praised by the fine to the good.
There the knowledgeable go to bathe, and cross to the far shore without getting wet.
[SN 7.21]

markandeya
Posts: 320
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:33 am

Re: Buddha and Mahavira

Post by markandeya » Wed May 08, 2019 7:26 am

In ancient India there was no outward dress code and its still followed today its not a requirement, the development of supra-mental states was more known by adhikara or level and state of ones being.

Buddha is not a person, its a state, or more precisely that which illumines the citta and brings enlightenment, who forms a unique cosmology within the Individual but all are enlightened in the same source, but the individual may not change so radically on the outside, or they may change a lot, its not a monastic conveyor belt an full of stereotypes.

Maharvira is also not a person, its Mahavira great vira, strong fearless and heroic to break illusions, an ephitet or Brahman, that leads directly to enlightenment or is already a spiritual body or form rupa, which is formless or unbounded in the citta, the potentials are in everyone. Siddharta was attributed as the Buddha, when it would be more correct to say that Siddharta was a prince a normal man who attained to Buddha or the awakened state.

Same a Bhagavan, Bhaga means qualities usually of isha and van or vat mean one who possess within citta, a jivanmukta, jiva is the citta its liberated, there are no stereotypes, usually Bhagavats maintain good social customs, while Avadhutas and Shaktas follow no rules or forms, in fact they break all forms and can recreat new ones at will, they again are not limited to one form, it all depends on the individuals cosmology, one maybe outwardly a madman according to social customs, but inwardly are shant always absorbed in the transcendent, they ultimately becomes mediums of the subtle universal rupa, which is the intermediat space between the sense and mind world and final paranirvana. None of this can be measured by intellect or observed by empirical senses and is far from the morality of western ideals, which is a form of suppression of the natural states and free will. It cant be known by reading books, certain things can be helpful.

For some reason this is not explained to well in the West, where Ananda, Sariputra, mogallana for example are forces in the inner universal subtle cosmology, ananda is the bliss Body sat, pure existence free from conditions he was full of devotion, sariputra was the sun, light illumination and Moggallana was the moon, lucid mystic not taking form, these are cosmological bodies, both were attendants of the Tathagata in the subtle universe realised in prajna states, but they have been personalised by foreign academics and taught in institutions and Universities and some monastic circles as fixed personalities in history, when they are all in fact potentials residing equally within all of us.

Its hard to get around this because true realisation of these things are usually outside of most peoples grasps, Monastic Scholars would be better to explain these things related so supra states rather than historical personalities with varying beliefs and practices, thats how its done in ancient and existing oral traditions,and teaching all these as personalities has brought about varying views and philosophies, the set up is all wrong. But people want refrence from books, to be told by status held monastics or people with phd after their names or character personalities, or some credited source that may hold a bias.

So many sadhus now dont want to associate with western seekers, their knowledge gets exploited or misinterpreted, now they want to test them in science labs like rats. When these people learn.....

:anjali:

User avatar
AgarikaJ
Posts: 246
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:21 pm

Re: Buddha and Mahavira

Post by AgarikaJ » Wed May 08, 2019 1:58 pm

markandeya wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:26 am
In ancient India there was no outward dress code
If you could qualify this statement a little bit, because looking at contemporary archaeological sources your are simply wrong.

The whole rest of your post, equating specific people as 'states' seems similarly uninformed, not just according to modern views, but already to those expressed by people contemporary or close in time to the Buddha.

I understand that one can look at Buddhism as a purely philosophical vehicle, but why deny it any connection to mundane reality?
The teaching is a lake with shores of ethics, unclouded, praised by the fine to the good.
There the knowledgeable go to bathe, and cross to the far shore without getting wet.
[SN 7.21]

markandeya
Posts: 320
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:33 am

Re: Buddha and Mahavira

Post by markandeya » Wed May 08, 2019 2:55 pm

AgarikaJ wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 1:58 pm
markandeya wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:26 am
In ancient India there was no outward dress code
If you could qualify this statement a little bit, because looking at contemporary archaeological sources your are simply wrong.

The whole rest of your post, equating specific people as 'states' seems similarly uninformed, not just according to modern views, but already to those expressed by people contemporary or close in time to the Buddha.

I understand that one can look at Buddhism as a purely philosophical vehicle, but why deny it any connection to mundane reality?
i dont see any philosophy in Buddhist states, it can be applied to some degree if we want to discuss and ponder, but its more about direct states, which effect being.

Means that there was no uniform, a begger could be in rags and be a begger and also a person in rags an ascetic yogi, an mahasiddha or a rishi could be a king, stately ruler, siddharta was from a king or kshatriya lineage, mahavira was from Ikshvaku dynasty, forms of the buddha became more personalised from Greek influence. It doesnt matter about outer appearance, the divinities were in the subtle, it doesn't take anything away from being human, nothing in dharma traditions is outside of human potential.

If you fix buddha as an historical figure then, it brings in all sorts of problems. Same as the other characters in the texts. Did they exists as human figures sure, but mogallana was moon or lucid side left side of our brain hemisphere which can become more profound and subtle, Sariuptra the right side of brain hemisphere, the sun lineages which again can be more and more bright and enlightened and Buddha exists as a potential in all us.

Sanskrit and pali names and other names in India describe states, that include but also transcend the individual giving deeper meaning, expanding, connecting, unifying. Many Gotras or family lines have deep ancestry and names were given by Joytish what we would astrology inline with Gotra, which unifying in the macrocosm, the inner universe, a type of spiritual non physical genetics.

The suttas are within the cosmology, a play of cosmic forces, more subtle than the subconscious. They may also be historical person but cosmology is not fixed in normal linear time and space, we can access those same cosmological states at anytime if we practice correctly or develop citta bhavana.

Old architectural carvings, such as ajanta, ujjain, siddha natha and many others all over India, people would would wear all sorts of different dress, mostly light clothes in variety of dress, Garuda in the most ancient arts in Ujjain was very human, they were divine human beings, but the cosmology descriptions transcended the human. Most of the art is to beautify the state of Being. An actual enlightened person maybe over weight, and not care about his outer dress. The arts are not portraits always, its above the person but is still human. Closer inspection the forms also have divine symbols, they may not appear on the actual human. Cosmology states or states within madhyamika middle, or midway are in the subtle and are defined in the arts. It doesnt make them ideological they are within the human.

Its human but not mundane, the mundane states have been transcended, they abide in higher cosmological states, where for example, ananda, Sariputra, Mogallana , mahavira and Buddha could all exists in one persons citta. Maybe in the west the closest thing would be the archetypes of consciousness of jung, but its far more prfound and connects one directly to samyaksambhodi.

Its not easy to talk about these things in English, thats why the monstaics should be studying these and bringing it out in the pali, i can only make feeble attempts because its so underdeveloped at the moment, and Budhist practice doesnt seem to be heading in the direction at the moment to make these things any clearer, its getting closer to psychology.

:anjali:

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: robertk and 61 guests