The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
bodom
Posts: 4661
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby bodom » Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:31 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Bodom,

bodom wrote:I am now wondering how far i can take my satipatthana practice? Can and should i practice satipatthana at all? How do i cultivate the parami of wisdom without attaining sotapanna?

Please don't see this as a personal attack because I assure you it's not, but based on what you've read in the suttas, how do you think the Buddha would have responded to these questions?

Metta,
Retro. :)


Dont worry Retro I dont see it that way at all. Honestly im not sure. He taught to suit the different capacities of his students and with such a broad spectrum of advice for householders and monks. He taught some to strive for heavenly rebirths and others Nibbana. Its hard to say, i guess its an individual thing.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

pt1
Posts: 415
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:30 am

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby pt1 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 6:54 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:The north western Sthaviravadins also had a few distinctions between when the bodhisattva has the aspiration to when they personally know, and then externally declare that they are on the bodhisattva path.

Lamotte, 2001: 212
During the first asaṃkhyeya, the bodhisattva does not know if he will become a Buddha or not. - During the second asaṃkhyeya, he knows that he will be Buddha but does not dare to proclaim: "I shall be Buddha." - During the third asaṃkhyeya, he knows confidently that he will be Buddha and he dares to proclaim fearlessly (bhaya): "Later I shall be Buddha."438

438 Passage taken from the Vibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 176, p. 886c.



Hi Ven.Pannasikhara,

Thanks for the quote. Could you also please say a bit more about the aspiration you mention, but in terms of dhammas? E.g.
Paññāsikhara wrote:In many "mahayana" traditions, the arising of the aspiration to attain full awakening is sufficient to make one a bodhisattva.

In abhidhama, as far as I understand it, aspirations and vows would be related to the kusala cetasikas of chanda and adimokkha. Adimokkha would also be related to one of the paramis - adhitthana (though it is not one of the paramitas?). However, I remember in one of the threads on e-sangha someone mentioned (Namdrol I think) that aspiration is in fact a path consciousness - though he might have said "path factor", but at the time I understood him to mean that aspiration is equivalent to a magga citta in Mahayana traditions. Did I understand that correctly? Thanks.

Best wishes

Heavenstorm
Posts: 69
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:37 am

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby Heavenstorm » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:33 pm

bodom wrote:I am now wondering how far i can take my satipatthana practice? Can and should i practice satipatthana at all? How do i cultivate the parami of wisdom without attaining sotapanna?


Hi there, as far as I know, Buddhist masters and teachers in Theravada and Mahayana comment on the necessity of the cultivation of the four immeasurables for aspiring beings on the Bodhisattva path. Therefore, you can taking mediation on metta as a starting point and its also one of the ten Paramitas in Theravada btw. :namaste:

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 4661
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby bodom » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:03 pm

Heavenstorm wrote:
bodom wrote:I am now wondering how far i can take my satipatthana practice? Can and should i practice satipatthana at all? How do i cultivate the parami of wisdom without attaining sotapanna?


Hi there, as far as I know, Buddhist masters and teachers in Theravada and Mahayana comment on the necessity of the cultivation of the four immeasurables for aspiring beings on the Bodhisattva path. Therefore, you can taking mediation on metta as a starting point and its also one of the ten Paramitas in Theravada btw. :namaste:


I have in the past received satipatthana meditation instruction from various teachers but am not currently studying under anyone at the moment. I feel it would be best if i could discuss this decision with a qualified teacher. I feel as though i should continue with my satipatthana practice while also cultivating the paramis. Maybe this whole idea will stay as just that until i can talk with a teacher. There are many issues left unresolved.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

User avatar
Anders
Posts: 97
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:52 pm

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby Anders » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:42 pm

Paññāsikhara wrote:In many "mahayana" traditions, the arising of the aspiration to attain full awakening is sufficient to make one a bodhisattva.
However, others indicate that certain attainments are necessary, and some of them bear close resemblance to srotaapannatva in terms of the absence of identity views (satkaya-drsti), etc.


I fear it might be more confusing than clarifying to leave such a statement unelaborated, venerable. Would you care to expand on what you mean by 'bear close resemblance to srotaapannavatna'. It sounds like you're saying there are, according to this representation, no aryan bodhisattvas as they do not experience any realisation.

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 4661
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby bodom » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:17 am

I wonder if anyone knows of any Theravadan teachers today who practice or teach the bodhisattva path? I came across the following in an article and found this to be very intriguing though it is unsubstantiated :

Though a minority, there are many Theravadin practitioners in Burma today following the bodhisattva path. There are stories in Burma that the meditation master Mingun Sayadaw early in the last century instructed one student, Mahasi Sayadaw, to become an arahant and another student, Taungpulu Sayadaw, to follow the bodhisattva path.

http://www.audiodharma.org/documents/pa ... round.html

Im hoping someone can point me in the right direction.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 4661
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby bodom » Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:29 am

Anders Honore wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:In many "mahayana" traditions, the arising of the aspiration to attain full awakening is sufficient to make one a bodhisattva.
However, others indicate that certain attainments are necessary, and some of them bear close resemblance to srotaapannatva in terms of the absence of identity views (satkaya-drsti), etc.


I fear it might be more confusing than clarifying to leave such a statement unelaborated, venerable. Would you care to expand on what you mean by 'bear close resemblance to srotaapannavatna'. It sounds like you're saying there are, according to this representation, no aryan bodhisattvas as they do not experience any realisation.


How could there be ariya bodhisattva's? In my limited understanding would not reaching the level of ariya put and end to the bodhisattva career?

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

pt1
Posts: 415
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:30 am

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby pt1 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:53 am

bodom wrote:How could there be ariya bodhisattva's? In my limited understanding would not reaching the level of ariya put and end to the bodhisattva career?


Hi bodom,

Afaik, in Theravada, bodhisattas indeed could not be called ariyas because sankhar'uppekkha nana (the highest insight knowledge available to them) is not enough to initiate the magga citta (path consciousness when one becomes sotapanna or higher). That said, sankhar'upekkha nana is already a really, really, high level of insight/wisdom.

However, in Mahayana, as I remember from a few discussions on e-sangha, this issue is not that clear-cut. In Prajnaparamita sutras, I remember a few passages Ven.Pannasikhara quoted which do say that a bodhisattava should cultivate wisdom, but only up to a point so as not to become sotapanna. Though, I don't remember that point being clearly defined. In later Mahayana traditions though, I think, greater and greater levels of sanctity are ascribed to bodhisattvas like bhumi classification for example, where I think bodhisattva of the 10 bhumi level is almost equivalent to a sammasambuddha, though again I didn't yet see clear indication whether this refers to a specific level of insight developed, or perhaps this refers to the level of other paramitas, etc. And of course, there is that issue of whether aspiration is treated as a magga citta in what case there's a certain level of sanctity available to bodhisattvas that's not available to others who do not make such aspiration. But this is just my speculating, hopefully someone more knowledgable can answer about Mahayana viewpoints on this.

bodom wrote:I wonder if anyone knows of any Theravadan teachers today who practice or teach the bodhisattva path?
I remember a member here - Santeri - mentioned that he was interested in the bodhisatta path, you might contact him for more info. I think two ajahns he mentioned in this connection are Ajahn Plien and Ajahn Jumnien.

bodom wrote:I am now wondering how far i can take my satipatthana practice? Can and should i practice satipatthana at all? How do i cultivate the parami of wisdom without attaining sotapanna? Maybe this goes to show how really difficult it is just to attain the level of sotapanna?

Yes, I also found this question interesting. I think if there's interest in developing satipatthana, then that's the right thing to do. Just speculating here - ideally a teacher that could look into my mind and perhaps even my past lives would be the ideal person to tell me whether I should practice this or that depending on what aspirations were made in the past lives (savaka, pacceka or sammasambuddha). If such teacher is not available, then the ideal thing would be to develop real strong samatha in the fourth jhana, and with that develop dibbacakkhu, so that I could look into past lives and see what aspirations were made (if at all). But if that's not available either, then the only thing that remains available is to see what are my inclinations right now. If it's the inclination towards satipatthana, then I guess that's the right thing to do right now.

Best wishes

Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Contact:

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:02 am

Anders Honore wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:In many "mahayana" traditions, the arising of the aspiration to attain full awakening is sufficient to make one a bodhisattva.
However, others indicate that certain attainments are necessary, and some of them bear close resemblance to srotaapannatva in terms of the absence of identity views (satkaya-drsti), etc.


I fear it might be more confusing than clarifying to leave such a statement unelaborated, venerable. Would you care to expand on what you mean by 'bear close resemblance to srotaapannavatna'. It sounds like you're saying there are, according to this representation, no aryan bodhisattvas as they do not experience any realisation.


Okay, as we know, abandonment of identity-view (sakkayaditthi, satkayadrsti) is a, if not the, key factor in attainment of stream-entry.

The early Prajnaparamita states that it is when the bodhisattva is able to tolerate the point that there is no sattva to a bodhi-sattva to cultivate the path to liberation, that they are actually a bodhisattva, and that this tolerance towards the absence of a sattva is the teaching itself. This idea of absence of a sattva is obviously a very close to the notion of absence of a sakkaya.
The text refers to this usually as a tolerance (ksanti), which in many mainstream schools is the step immediately before knowledge (jnana). For each of the aryan paths, eg. stream-entry ... arhatship, one goes through a process which includes tolerance and then knowledge.
However, the same text also states that if a bodhisattva has already attained stream-entry (in about the 3rd century, this becomes "assurance of certitude") then they form a barrier with samsara, so are unable to continue on a bodhisattva path.
The idea of "assurance of certitude" is also given as a step just before stream-entry in sutta, and mainstream Buddhist thought.

So, I say that there is some similarity, but it is not the same. A problem is, is that although both tolerance and assurance are before stream-entry itself, we don't clearly no what the distinction, if any, is between the two. Or, if the bodhisattva's tolerance is different from that of a sravaka, say. Later Mahayana schools will give their explanations, but we can't guarantee that these are the original idea.

Whatever the case, how about aryan or non-aryan bodhisattvas? Well, depending on how we define "aryan", actually. Often it is broader, including "those on the path to <attainment>", in which case, anyone practicing for any bodhisattva practice is aryan. Likewise for sravakas with this definition, anybody cultivating towards stream-entry - even if they haven't attained it yet - is aryan. But the other, narrower, definition, those who have already attained stream-entry, well then these are not (that kind of sravaka) aryan. However, they may be aryan in a bodhisattva sense, eg. in this system, one could have cultivated the bodhisattva path for 3 asamkhya kalpas, not have realized the equivalent of stream-entry, and be in one's last birth until samyak sambodhi. Are we going to say that they are not aryan?

For the Sarvastivadins, too, the bodhisattvas are "common persons" (prthgjana), and so too for the Haimavatas. Pretty similar to the Theravadins. The Mahasamghika schools tended (but not necessarily all of them) to take the bodhisattva as already incredibly advanced, and aryan. After all, the whole life of the bodhisattva, his birth, marriage, renunciation, etc. are all just a show. To me, the Prajnaparamita is initially more like those Sthavira schools, but that probably changes over time.

Later traditions, which liked like divide the path up into lots of levels, have their own systems. eg. some put it at "first level", some at "eighth level", or whatever. But I don't think that these levels / grounds were inherent in the earliest stages of the Mahayana system.

<< I'm really glad I'm using Google Chrome, browser just crashed (accidentally flipped language input mode which seems to freak it out a bit), but when you restart it, all the text is exactly as left, so the post isn't lost at all! Phew! Take that, Microsoft Explorer! >>
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.

Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Contact:

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:07 am

There is an important phrase in the early Prajnaparamita:

Train in emptiness, but not realize emptiness.

I'm still trying to work out exactly what the difference is, though, without necessarily buying into later commentarial explanations which are sometimes from different backgrounds trying to read other ideas into the text.
Be careful, though, because "emptiness" here doesn't just mean "not self", but refers to something more like early sutta ideas of the "signless" (again, don't fall for the Abhidhammic and commentarial explanation of "signless" as "nibbana which has no signs of xxx, yyy and zzz". That's already an ontological position, half the time. Originally, the "sign" is a subjective event, not the characteristic of the object.)
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.

User avatar
zavk
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:04 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby zavk » Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:43 am

Dear Ven.

In relation to your last post, can you please elaborate on your understanding of the difference between 'not-self' and the 'signless'?

Thanks.
With metta,
zavk

User avatar
ground
Posts: 2592
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:01 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby ground » Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:49 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
Dukkhanirodha wrote:
bodom wrote: I would like to undertake the Bodhisattva path but not through the Mahayana tradition and these qualifications make it look rather bleak. Are there any here who aspire to the Bodhisattva path through the Theravadin tradition?


Are you prepared for several asankheyyas of becoming? It took 4 to Gotama. 'Mahayanists' totally neglect this fact. I feel there is a lot of building up ego under this fashion.


Re: 'Mahayanists' totally neglect this fact. - this statement is incorrect.

There are some groups that have other interpretations, but the vast majority of practicing Mahayana Buddhists, ie. Chinese Buddhists, all very clearly and explicitly accept a Mahayana path of many asamkhya kalpas to complete.


It is correct that "many asamkhya kalpas to complete" is generally acknowledged in Mahayana although there are paths that are claimed to provide the skillful means to accomplish the way in 1- 16 lives (vajrayana).
But why is that that "many asamkhya kalpas" does not matter in the minds of bodhisattvas? It is because bodhisattvas "put on the armor of prajnaparamita". However to call it "armor" boils down to be a paradox because actually what is meant is naked exposure to pure being after having seen the equalness of samsara and nirvana by means of "prajnaparamita".

Kind regards

Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Contact:

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:59 pm

zavk wrote:Dear Ven.

In relation to your last post, can you please elaborate on your understanding of the difference between 'not-self' and the 'signless'?

Thanks.


According to whom?
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 4661
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby bodom » Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:27 pm

Thank you pt1 for your kindness and patience in responding to my posts. You have been most helpful.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

User avatar
zavk
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:04 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby zavk » Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:26 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
zavk wrote:Dear Ven.

In relation to your last post, can you please elaborate on your understanding of the difference between 'not-self' and the 'signless'?

Thanks.


According to whom?



Hi Ven.

I am especially curious about what you said here:

Paññāsikhara wrote:Originally, the "sign" is a subjective event, not the characteristic of the object.


I've encountered this argument before (possibly on E-Sangha) but never really took the time to investigate it further. So I'm hoping you could point me in the right direction. I'm interested in understanding how the 'sign' was initially interpreted, and which later school of thought came closest to that early interpretation.

Sorry if my question is vague--but I suppose this is precisely why I'm hoping you could help elucidate my understanding.

:anjali:
With metta,
zavk

pt1
Posts: 415
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:30 am

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby pt1 » Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:11 am

Hi Venerable,

Paññāsikhara wrote:Okay, as we know, abandonment of identity-view (sakkayaditthi, satkayadrsti) is a, if not the, key factor in attainment of stream-entry.

The early Prajnaparamita states that it is when the bodhisattva is able to tolerate the point that there is no sattva to a bodhi-sattva to cultivate the path to liberation, that they are actually a bodhisattva, and that this tolerance towards the absence of a sattva is the teaching itself. This idea of absence of a sattva is obviously a very close to the notion of absence of a sakkaya.
The text refers to this usually as a tolerance (ksanti), which in many mainstream schools is the step immediately before knowledge (jnana). For each of the aryan paths, eg. stream-entry ... arhatship, one goes through a process which includes tolerance and then knowledge.
However, the same text also states that if a bodhisattva has already attained stream-entry (in about the 3rd century, this becomes "assurance of certitude") then they form a barrier with samsara, so are unable to continue on a bodhisattva path.
The idea of "assurance of certitude" is also given as a step just before stream-entry in sutta, and mainstream Buddhist thought.

This sounds similar to how the commentaries describe cula-sotapanna – someone who has realised the first two tender insight knowledges – discerning nama-rupa (nama rupa pariccheda nana) and discerning conditionality (paccaya pariggaha nana).

Here are a few quotes I came accross online cited in relation to cula-sotapanna:

The Essence of Buddha Abhidhamma by Dr Mehm Tin Mon:
Sotaapanna is a noble person (Ariya) who has eliminated di.t.thi and vicikicchà
'completely'. He will never be reborn in the apaaya abodes and he is destined to
enter Nibbaana in no more than seven rebirths in the kaama-planes. Now the yogi,
who has attained Naama-ruupa-pariccheda-~naa.na and Paccaya-pariggaha-~naa.na,
has 'temporarily' eliminated di.t.thi and vicikicchaa as described above. So he
resembles a sotaapanna but he is not a sotaapanna yet. He is called a
cuu.la-sotaapanna meaning a junior-sotaapanna. He will not be reborn in the
apaaya abodes in his subsequent life.


Visuddhimagga XIX, 26, 27:
26. For this is said: 'Understanding of discernment of
conditions thus "Ignorance is a condition, formations are
conditionally arisen, and both these states are conditionally arisen”,
is knowledge of the causal relationship of states’. [paragraph 26 then continues about abandoning doubt]
27. When a man practising insight has become possessed of this knowledge, he has found comfort in the Buddhas’ dispensation, he has found a foothold, he is certain of his destiny, he is called a 'Lesser Stream enterer'.


From one of Ledi Sayadaw’s manuals (the link I have for this quote is dead now, sorry about that):
"Cula-sotapanna or the Virtuous One
To understand Dependent Origination or to gain Knowledge in
comprehending the Law of Causality enables one to discard the three
aforesaid Wrong Views of No-cause, Unjustified Cause of Creation,
and misleading belief in past-kamma alone. In fact this Knowledge
equips one to be a virtuous one, ever freed from the ignoble
destinies of the Four Lower Worlds, a Cula-sotapanna, a future-
stream-winner' - so the Commentaries say. Hence a goal well worth
striving for. "


Best wishes

pt1
Posts: 415
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:30 am

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby pt1 » Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:34 am

TMingyur wrote:what is meant is naked exposure to pure being after having seen the equalness of samsara and nirvana by means of "prajnaparamita".


Hi TMingyur,

With respect, this seems to be vajrayana terminology and I’m not sure how to interpret it correctly. Could you please clarify:

“naked exposure to pure being” – this would be vipassana I guess?

“having seen the equalness of samsara and nirvana” – afaik, according to Theravada, nirvana as a dhamma is experienced for the first time with magga citta – path consciousness, which can be of four kinds and resulting in stream-entry, once-returning, non-returning or arahantship. Since I believe none of those four are acceptable for bodhisattvas, then what kind of magga citta do bodhisattvas experience in order to experience nirvana and conclude on that basis that samara and nirvana are equal? Or perhaps they can exprience nirvana without magga citta? Then with what kind of a citta?

“by means of prajnaparamita” – this would be the parami(ta) of wisdom (insight), right? I’d like to ask how far can their insight go according to vajrayana without resulting in stream-entry or higher? In theravada, as soon as insight reaches the level of anuloma nana, stream-entry is inevitable (please see here if you’re unfamiliar with insight-knowledge stages in theravada), hence, afaik, wisodm/insight of bodhisattas is said never to go beyond that point until their last life, and hence, they never experience nibbana prior to their last life.

Best wishes

Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Contact:

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:00 am

zavk wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:Originally, the "sign" is a subjective event, not the characteristic of the object.


I've encountered this argument before (possibly on E-Sangha) but never really took the time to investigate it further. So I'm hoping you could point me in the right direction. I'm interested in understanding how the 'sign' was initially interpreted, and which later school of thought came closest to that early interpretation.

Sorry if my question is vague--but I suppose this is precisely why I'm hoping you could help elucidate my understanding.

:anjali:


Oh, it's pretty simple if you just go to a translation of the Pali suttas, and look up "sign" (= nimitta) in the index. You'll soon see what is meant. On most occasions, it is talking about a mental event, which is often either something which generates defilements, or the mental event which is developed in order to overcome those defilements.

In the post-sutta stage, nimitta becomes used more like lakkhana (characteristic), which slowly tends to become the characteristics of the object itself. It's the well known shift from mental states to ontology.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.

Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Contact:

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:02 am

pt1 wrote:Hi Venerable,

Paññāsikhara wrote:Okay, as we know, abandonment of identity-view (sakkayaditthi, satkayadrsti) is a, if not the, key factor in attainment of stream-entry.

The early Prajnaparamita states that it is when the bodhisattva is able to tolerate the point that there is no sattva to a bodhi-sattva to cultivate the path to liberation, that they are actually a bodhisattva, and that this tolerance towards the absence of a sattva is the teaching itself. This idea of absence of a sattva is obviously a very close to the notion of absence of a sakkaya.
The text refers to this usually as a tolerance (ksanti), which in many mainstream schools is the step immediately before knowledge (jnana). For each of the aryan paths, eg. stream-entry ... arhatship, one goes through a process which includes tolerance and then knowledge.
However, the same text also states that if a bodhisattva has already attained stream-entry (in about the 3rd century, this becomes "assurance of certitude") then they form a barrier with samsara, so are unable to continue on a bodhisattva path.
The idea of "assurance of certitude" is also given as a step just before stream-entry in sutta, and mainstream Buddhist thought.

This sounds similar to how the commentaries describe cula-sotapanna – someone who has realised the first two tender insight knowledges – discerning nama-rupa (nama rupa pariccheda nana) and discerning conditionality (paccaya pariggaha nana).

Here are a few quotes I came accross online cited in relation to cula-sotapanna:

The Essence of Buddha Abhidhamma by Dr Mehm Tin Mon:
Sotaapanna is a noble person (Ariya) who has eliminated di.t.thi and vicikicchà
'completely'. He will never be reborn in the apaaya abodes and he is destined to
enter Nibbaana in no more than seven rebirths in the kaama-planes. Now the yogi,
who has attained Naama-ruupa-pariccheda-~naa.na and Paccaya-pariggaha-~naa.na,
has 'temporarily' eliminated di.t.thi and vicikicchaa as described above. So he
resembles a sotaapanna but he is not a sotaapanna yet. He is called a
cuu.la-sotaapanna meaning a junior-sotaapanna. He will not be reborn in the
apaaya abodes in his subsequent life.


Visuddhimagga XIX, 26, 27:
26. For this is said: 'Understanding of discernment of
conditions thus "Ignorance is a condition, formations are
conditionally arisen, and both these states are conditionally arisen”,
is knowledge of the causal relationship of states’. [paragraph 26 then continues about abandoning doubt]
27. When a man practising insight has become possessed of this knowledge, he has found comfort in the Buddhas’ dispensation, he has found a foothold, he is certain of his destiny, he is called a 'Lesser Stream enterer'.


From one of Ledi Sayadaw’s manuals (the link I have for this quote is dead now, sorry about that):
"Cula-sotapanna or the Virtuous One
To understand Dependent Origination or to gain Knowledge in
comprehending the Law of Causality enables one to discard the three
aforesaid Wrong Views of No-cause, Unjustified Cause of Creation,
and misleading belief in past-kamma alone. In fact this Knowledge
equips one to be a virtuous one, ever freed from the ignoble
destinies of the Four Lower Worlds, a Cula-sotapanna, a future-
stream-winner' - so the Commentaries say. Hence a goal well worth
striving for. "


Best wishes


pt1 - thank you very much for this.

I don't think that they are necessarily identical, but as you say, there is certainly some sort of resemblance.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.

Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Contact:

Re: The path of the Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:08 am

pt1 wrote:
TMingyur wrote:what is meant is naked exposure to pure being after having seen the equalness of samsara and nirvana by means of "prajnaparamita".


Hi TMingyur,

With respect, this seems to be vajrayana terminology and I’m not sure how to interpret it correctly. Could you please clarify:

“naked exposure to pure being” – this would be vipassana I guess?

“having seen the equalness of samsara and nirvana” – afaik, according to Theravada, nirvana as a dhamma is experienced for the first time with magga citta – path consciousness, which can be of four kinds and resulting in stream-entry, once-returning, non-returning or arahantship. Since I believe none of those four are acceptable for bodhisattvas, then what kind of magga citta do bodhisattvas experience in order to experience nirvana and conclude on that basis that samara and nirvana are equal? Or perhaps they can exprience nirvana without magga citta? Then with what kind of a citta?


Well, for a start, I think that the whole notion of attainments as being these magga-cittas is really only that of the Theravada. So, even to say that in this strict sense they are not acceptable for the bodhisattvas is using a system which only applies to the Theravada - one can't really say acceptable or unacceptable from the POV of other schools.

“by means of prajnaparamita” – this would be the parami(ta) of wisdom (insight), right? I’d like to ask how far can their insight go according to vajrayana without resulting in stream-entry or higher? In theravada, as soon as insight reaches the level of anuloma nana, stream-entry is inevitable (please see here if you’re unfamiliar with insight-knowledge stages in theravada), hence, afaik, wisodm/insight of bodhisattas is said never to go beyond that point until their last life, and hence, they never experience nibbana prior to their last life.

Best wishes


Again, one may have to go back to some more fundamental differences between Theravadin (non-sutta) explanations of these sorts of things, and the systems that the Vajrayana used (which tends to come from other schools).

Hence differences as to whether or not bodhisattvas are prthagjana or arya, etc.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.


Return to “General Theravāda discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests