The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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tiltbillings
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:17 pm

A very simple question:
Dexing wrote: Yogacara teachings first of all teach that everything ordinary beings perceive is merely the object of a subjective consciousness and not objective existence. Once realizing this, then obviously "exist" or "does not exist" both do not apply.
And the Pali suttas do not teach that?

And another very simple question, which you have refused to answer and which is very much related to the over all question of this thread: Is an arahant (as understood in the Pali suttas {not the later Mahjayana redefinition}) tathagata?
>> 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

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Goofaholix » Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:40 am

Dexing wrote:Yogacara teachings first of all teach that everything ordinary beings perceive is merely the object of a subjective consciousness and not objective existence. Once realizing this, then obviously "exist" or "does not exist" both do not apply.
Why Obviously? It ain't obvious to me?

Just because all of my perceptions are objects of my subjective conciousness it does not follow that those perceptions are a total invention and there is nothing at all to perceive.

Rather knowing that my perceptions are corrupted by delusion I seek to be free from delusion so that my perceptions become accurate and based on reality.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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ground
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by ground » Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:17 am

Dexing wrote:Yogacara teachings first of all teach that everything ordinary beings perceive is merely the object of a subjective consciousness and not objective existence. Once realizing this, then obviously "exist" or "does not exist" both do not apply.
The first and the second sentence are contradicting.
Also how does Yogacara explain two individuals sharing the same "object of subjective experience". e.g. two individuals seeing fire and burning their fingers after they put their fingers in the fire and are holding them there?
How does Yogacara explain sucessful human activity based on thought and perception of objects shared by different individuals (e.g. science, mathematics)?

Kind regards

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by dhamma follower » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:02 am

An Ordinary Being uses consciousness to perceive objects of that consciousness, and functions from within the limited capability of this deluded consciousness. This is the meaning of the terms Cittamatra and Vijnaptimatra. An Ordinary Being's experience is consciousness-only.

A Buddha on the other hand does not function through such consciousness anymore. The Eight types of Consciousness of an Ordinary Being are transformed into Four types of Wisdom.

An Ordinary Being's consciousness is always slow and ignorant. But a Buddha's wisdom functions spontaneously for the benefit of all beings. There is no longer a duality of Subject and Object, Perceiver and Perceived, Consciousness/Citta and Object of Citta, etc..
Again here, what is the definition of Ordinary Being ? From what it's said above,anyone who is not a Buddha ? Then how can Bodhicitta arises in an Ordinary Being, since, according to you, the condition for it is realization of "all are illusions" belongs only to the Buddha ?

Do you see the contradiction in your presentation ? On the one hand you maintain that realization of the nature of reality as "all are allusions" is indispensable to the arousal of Bodhicitta. But when asked how the insight into this occurs exactly and how it relates to Bodhicitta, you say it only belongs to the Buddha's consciousness!!!! So far, even leaving aside what is actually the point of Theravada, you have not yet made your case according to which the Bodhisattva ideal can only be found in Mahayana. This would makes sense only if you can answer satisfactorily specific questions put forth by fellows here (that you have basically avoided). Otherwise, as some one has noticed, many of your points are merely convictions without a solid basis of investigation and actual experiences.

Btw, how do you understand the experience of Nibbana, as far as it can gets with words ? Do you think in the experience of Nibbana, there's a perceiver and the perceived ?

D.F.

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:03 am

TMingyur wrote:
Dexing wrote:Yogacara teachings first of all teach that everything ordinary beings perceive is merely the object of a subjective consciousness and not objective existence. Once realizing this, then obviously "exist" or "does not exist" both do not apply.
The first and the second sentence are contradicting.
Also how does Yogacara explain two individuals sharing the same "object of subjective experience". e.g. two individuals seeing fire and burning their fingers after they put their fingers in the fire and are holding them there?
How does Yogacara explain sucessful human activity based on thought and perception of objects shared by different individuals (e.g. science, mathematics)?
Keep in mind that the Tibetan tenet system's interpretation of Yogachara and what Dexing is positing as Yogachara is not necessarily how Yogacharins saw themselves or understood themselves. It depends upon who you read and when and where, which is to say there are differing understandings.
>> 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

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by ground » Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:13 am

tiltbillings wrote:Keep in mind that the Tibetan tenet system's interpretation of Yogachara and what Dexing is positing as Yogachara is not necessarily how Yogacharins saw themselves or understood themselves. It depends upon who you read and when and where, which is to say there are differing understandings.
Well of course I am only referring to Dexing's "assertions about". After all "Yogachara" is just a label and there seems to be a variety of views about what "Yogachara" "really" is.

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Shonin » Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:19 am

Next...
Emptiness is never a generalized vacuity, like an empty room, but always relates to a specific entity whose emptiness is being asserted... The necessary indiscoverability is the essence of emptiness of Mādhyamika. It is important to distinguish this emptiness from nihilism.

The Buddhist notion of emptiness is often misunderstood as nihilism. Unfortunately, 19th century Western philosophy has contributed much to this misrepresentation. However, the only thing that nihilism and the teaching of emptiness can be said to have in common is a skeptical outset. Nihilism concludes that reality is unknowable, that nothing exists, that nothing meaningful can be communicated about the world. The Buddhist notion of emptiness is just the opposite. It states that the ultimate reality is knowable, there is a clear-cut ontological basis for phenomena and we can communicate and derive useful knowledge from it about the world. Emptiness (śūnyatā) must not be confused with nothingness. Emptiness is not non-existence and it is not non-reality.

However, in Yogācāra (Vijñānavāda), emptiness is taught as the inability to think of an object apart from the consciousness which thinks of that object...
- RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EMPTINESS (ŚŪNYATĀ ) AND DEPENDENT ORIGINATION :ANKUR BARUA, N. TESTERMAN, M.A. BASILIO

Shonin
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Shonin » Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:33 am

Next...

What is emptiness? Thich Nhat Hanh explains the meaning of this word.

Last edited by Shonin on Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

Shonin
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Shonin » Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:50 am

Next...
One of the most important philosophical insights in Buddhism comes from what is known as the theory of emptiness. At its heart is the deep recognition that there is a fundamental disparity between the way we perceive the world, including our own experience in it, and the way things actually are.

In our day-to-day experience, we tend to relate to the world and to ourselves as if these entities possessed self-enclosed, definable, discrete and enduring reality. For instance, if we examine our own conception of selfhood, we will find that we tend to believe in the presence of an essential core to our being, which characterises our individuality and identity as a discrete ego, independent of the physical and mental elements that constitute our existence.

The philosophy of emptiness reveals that this is not only a fundamental error but also the basis for attachment, clinging and the development of our numerous prejudices. According to the theory of emptiness, any belief in an objective reality grounded in the assumption of intrinsic, independent existence is simply untenable. All things and events, whether ‘material’, mental or even abstract concepts like time, are devoid of objective, independent existence.

To intrinsically possess such independent existence would imply that all things and events are somehow complete unto themselves and are therefore entirely self-contained. This would mean that nothing has the capacity to interact with or exert influence on any other phenomena. But we know that there is cause and effect – turn a key in a car, the starter motor turns the engine over, spark plugs ignite and fuel begins to burn… Yet in a universe of self-contained, inherently existing things, these events could never occur!

So effectively, the notion of intrinsic existence is incompatible with causation; this is because causation implies contingency and dependence, while anything that inherently existed would be immutable and self-enclosed. In the theory of emptiness, everything is argued as merely being composed of dependently related events; of continuously interacting phenomena with no fixed, immutable essence, which are themselves in dynamic and constantly changing relations. Thus, things and events are 'empty' in that they can never possess any immutable essence, intrinsic reality or absolute ‘being’ that affords independence.
- Dalai Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by Shonin » Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:57 am

Next...
... voidness does not mean nothingness, but rather that all things lack intrinsic reality, intrinsic objectivity, intrinsic identity or intrinsic referentiality. Lacking such static essence or substance does not make them not exist —- it makes them thoroughly relative.
- Robert F. Thurman, Foreword of Mother of the Buddhas by Lex Hixon
A nihilistic interpretation of the concept of voidness (or of mind-only) is not, by any means, a merely hypothetical possibility; it consistently was adopted by Buddhism's opponents, wherever the religion spread, nor have Buddhists themselves been immune to it...
- Roger R. Jackson, Is Enlightenment Possible?

PeterB
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by PeterB » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:16 am

tiltbillings wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
Dexing wrote:Yogacara teachings first of all teach that everything ordinary beings perceive is merely the object of a subjective consciousness and not objective existence. Once realizing this, then obviously "exist" or "does not exist" both do not apply.
The first and the second sentence are contradicting.
Also how does Yogacara explain two individuals sharing the same "object of subjective experience". e.g. two individuals seeing fire and burning their fingers after they put their fingers in the fire and are holding them there?
How does Yogacara explain sucessful human activity based on thought and perception of objects shared by different individuals (e.g. science, mathematics)?
Keep in mind that the Tibetan tenet system's interpretation of Yogachara and what Dexing is positing as Yogachara is not necessarily how Yogacharins saw themselves or understood themselves. It depends upon who you read and when and where, which is to say there are differing understandings.
I think it needs saying Tilt that what Dexing is positing is pretty much the way that some Vajrayana schools would posit it. and identical to the stated view of some members of a certain Zen forum of the parish.
Where a common reponse to any query or problem is to assure the questioner that they the questioner dont exist.

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tiltbillings
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:32 am

PeterB wrote: Where a common reponse to any query or problem is to assure the questioner that they the questioner dont exist.
One has to wonder what wheel turns so remarkably stupidly to say something as shallow as that. (I have seen Theravadins also make an equivalent sort of statement.)
>> 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

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by PeterB » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:49 am

To be fair at least one of the people who have operated as mods there will challenge such assertions.
In Zen they have an expression " Zen Sickness " to describe a condition of considerable alienation, which is interpreted by the sufferer as having achieved some kind of breakthrough. I dont know how prevelant Zen Sickness is among Zen students in the far east, but it is frequently encountered on Zen websites.

Q) I am having trouble with focusing on the breath.
A) You dont exist, your breath does not exist, you are already a Buddha..( and I'm a little teapot small and stout )..

But I digress..somewhat.

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:51 am

PeterB wrote:To be fair at least one of the people who have operated as mods there will challenge such assertions.
In Zen they have an expression " Zen Sickness " to describe a condition of considerable alienation, which is interpreted by the sufferer as having achieved some kind of breakthrough. I dont know how prevelant Zen Sickness is among Zen students in the far east, but it is frequently encountered on Zen websites.

Q) I am having trouble with focusing on the breath.
A) You dont exist, your breath does not exist, you are already a Buddha..( and I'm a little teapot small and stout )..

But I digress..somewhat.
And then there is Madhyamaka/sunyata/emptiness/anatta sickness.
>> 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

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Post by PeterB » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:55 am

Indeed. I am still recovering. You can never say..I WAS one of those..Its like alcoholism. One day at a time. Every day the mantram.." rupa is no less real than citta "..

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