Lord Buddha in Theravada

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Lord Buddha in Theravada

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jun 28, 2009 5:24 pm

Greetings


What is the view of Lord Buddha in Theravada (classical and modern)? In later traditions he is seen as a super-human and almost god like. My understanding so far of Theravada and the suttas is that he was just a man who discovered nibbana, however this is based on my own understandings and readings so incase i am wrong i thought i would ask here


metta
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3338
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: Lord Buddha in Theravada

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:58 pm

Your assessment sounds about right for the Theravada. The Buddha perfected his paramitas over many lifetimes and acquired much merit over many lifetimes and even met, in one form or another the previous samma-sam-buddhas in previous lives; but basically was a man.

The Mahayana, I think, have included such things as no pain or no death, eternal being, Dharmakāya, Trikaya; which instead of disparaging those ideas, let me just say I disagree with those opinions or concepts.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7952
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Lord Buddha in Theravada

Postby Rhino » Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:28 am

Hello clw_uk,
clw_uk wrote:My understanding so far of Theravada and the suttas is that he was just a man who discovered nibbana

That is my understanding too. In Theravada the Buddha is only the teacher who found the way out of suffering and is guiding people to the path of liberation from suffering. As a Sammasambuddhassa, who found Nibbana from his own and is teaching the creatures, he has some extra qualities like remembering past rebirths and legality of kamma (M71). This qualities are necessary because a Buddha must be sure about what he teaches. But that is not essential. Essential is the annihilation of suffering for us followers. And for teaching this he is honoured in Theravada.
With best wishes

Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha's Teaching.
Nanavira Thera - Notes on Dhamma
User avatar
Rhino
 
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:09 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Lord Buddha in Theravada

Postby Individual » Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:56 pm

clw_uk wrote:Greetings


What is the view of Lord Buddha in Theravada (classical and modern)? In later traditions he is seen as a super-human and almost god like. My understanding so far of Theravada and the suttas is that he was just a man who discovered nibbana, however this is based on my own understandings and readings so incase i am wrong i thought i would ask here


metta

In Mahayana, he's sometimes treated as being like an all-powerful, omnipresent creator god.

In Theravada, it isn't fair to say that he's simply treated as a man who discovered Nibbana, even if some modern Theravadins might treat him that way. The suttas describe various miracles, which traditional Theravadins take literally.

The Buddha denied being both a man or being a god (see here).

MN 12 clarifies the specifics of the Buddha's powers (the "ten powers of a Tathagata"):
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html

"The Buddha-range of Buddhas," is also one of the four imponderables, which seems fairly intuitive: If you had the capacity for understanding the scope of a Buddha's knowledge, you too would be a Buddha. But if you were a Buddha and had the capacity for such understanding, you wouldn't ask the question in the first place. So, it's a perplexing philosophical question without a real, comforting, or useful answer.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
Individual
 
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: Lord Buddha in Theravada

Postby BlackBird » Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:52 pm

Buddha is Dhamma. See the Dhamma, see the Buddha.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
User avatar
BlackBird
 
Posts: 1860
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Lord Buddha in Theravada

Postby Bankei » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:44 am

Depends on who you are talking to

To some modern Thai Buddhists the Buddha, Phra Phuttajao, is a god. Some pray to the Buddha asking for favours, such as money, passing exams, business etc. Seems not much different to other religions. I have asked these Thais how can the Buddha help as he is 'gone' and have never received an adequate reply.

To modern Western 'rational' Buddhists the Buddha is like a psychologist who prescribed a way to think which reduces suffering.

A guess the Pali texts take a view mid-way between these 2 extremes.

Bankei
-----------------------
Bankei
Bankei
 
Posts: 426
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:40 am


Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: befriend and 14 guests