The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Tue May 25, 2010 5:01 am

Ben wrote:
Dexing wrote:First of all, the Shravaka vehicle only deals with the illusion of personal selfhood, while the Mahayana — having covered this stage — begins to deal with the illusion of all phenomenal existence- something that is not even touched upon in classical teachings.

This is just so wrong.
It is the usual polemic that the Mahayana teaches. Maybe Dexing will spend some time here to learn what it is that the Theravada actually teaches.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Ben » Tue May 25, 2010 5:07 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Ben wrote:
Dexing wrote:First of all, the Shravaka vehicle only deals with the illusion of personal selfhood, while the Mahayana — having covered this stage — begins to deal with the illusion of all phenomenal existence- something that is not even touched upon in classical teachings.

This is just so wrong.
It is the usual polemic that the Mahayana teaches. Maybe Dexing will spend some time here to learn what it is that the Theravada actually teaches.


Yes that is my hope, Tilt.
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby alan » Tue May 25, 2010 5:48 am

Dex reminds me of someone. The style. The attitude.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby PeterB » Tue May 25, 2010 7:28 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Dexing wrote:. . .Anyway, hope this helps clarify the position.
What it does clarify is that Mahayana really does not understand or address the Theravada. What you have presented is the usual Mahayana polemic against the supposed hinayana, a straw man construct.

Actually I finnd Dexing's post refreshingly honest. What he is saying indeed shows all the triumphalism and assumption of superiority that is prevelant in the Mahayana. even if it is not universal.
The reality though is if one spends time in Mahayana circles that type of view is far more typical than the views of a small proportion of those Mahayana students who join a Theravada Forum. That is the real thing in its natural state. It is absolutely the default view in the Vajrayana, as it is in some Zen circles.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Tue May 25, 2010 7:49 am

PeterB wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Dexing wrote:. . .Anyway, hope this helps clarify the position.
What it does clarify is that Mahayana really does not understand or address the Theravada. What you have presented is the usual Mahayana polemic against the supposed hinayana, a straw man construct.

Actually I finnd Dexing's post refreshingly honest. What he is saying indeed shows all the triumphalism and assumption of superiority that is prevelant in the Mahayana. even if it is not universal.
The reality though is if one spends time in Mahayana circles that type of view is far more typical than the views of a small proportion of those Mahayana students who join a Theravada Forum. That is the real thing in its natural state. It is absolutely the default view in the Vajrayana, as it is in some Zen circles.
Yeah. it is a statement that represents a polemical point of view and it is an argument from ignorance. An amusing variation is played by the OP in this thread found elsewhere: http://www.zenforuminternational.org//v ... 7&start=20
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby PeterB » Tue May 25, 2010 8:02 am

Precisely so.
For many years I belonged to one of the more progressive and radical of Vajrayana Sanghas and we were told repeatedly that the Theravada represents a playschool version of Buddhism for those yet to cut their teeth.
It was said in a kindly way. More in sorrow than in anger. More in sympathy than in rejection. In fact not in rejection at all. Because we were also told repeatedly that " the Vajrayana starts where the Theravada ends , it contains it " etc etc.
Which is also the default position of the owners of ZFI. Even if it does not quite do justice to the views of all of that forums mods.
Now I dont think that Theravadins should lose sight of the moral high ground..but I do blink and swallow sometimes when it is suggested that the Theravada sees itself uniquely as the superior vehicle...yeah right..
Last edited by PeterB on Tue May 25, 2010 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue May 25, 2010 8:05 am

ug i really need to remind myself not to click those links to other forums... every time i just end up reading the silliest stuff, which reminds me just how different zen people are in real life from on the internets.... :toilet:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby PeterB » Tue May 25, 2010 8:34 am

Its just reality jc superstar..Greory Wonderwheel is only unusual in that he is forthright about it.
I was present at a dialogue between Bhikkhus from Chithurst and Bhikshus from the Soto Zen sangha at Throssel Hole.
The dialogue was characterised by two factors..a search for commonality AND a recognition that real dialogue starts witha recognition of actual difference..not by attempting to fabricate a single pan- Buddhism.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Tue May 25, 2010 8:38 am

PeterB wrote:Its just reality jc superstar..Greory Wonderwheel is only unusual in that he is forthright about it.
I was present at a dialogue between Bhikkhus from Chithurst and Bhikshus from the Soto Zen sangha at Throssel Hole.
The dialogue was characterised by two factors..a search for commonality AND a recognition that real dialogue starts witha recognition of actual difference..not by attempting to fabricate a single pan- Buddhism.
To be picky, Soto Zen does not have Bhikshus.

An imprtant point, of course, for dialogue is that in recognizing the actual differences does not require that any one position trumps the other.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby PeterB » Tue May 25, 2010 8:45 am

They were western Soto monks of some kind Tilt..I assumed that they were Bhikshus, perhaps not technically though..
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Tue May 25, 2010 8:53 am

PeterB wrote:They were western Soto monks of some kind Tilt..I assumed that they were Bhikshus, perhaps not technically though..
Bhikshu would imply a Vinaya ordination, which is something "lost" to the Zen schools for particular historical reasons. While that over-laird of the grey forum used that fact to beat up on the Zen monks on the grey forum, that does not mean that the Zen monastics are not monastics. They probably should not be called bhikshu.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Shonin » Tue May 25, 2010 9:03 am

What does Theravada say about "the illusion of all phenomenal existence" ?
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby PeterB » Tue May 25, 2010 9:06 am

I think it says that we need to be careful what we translate as " illusion " among other things.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Tue May 25, 2010 9:07 am

Shonin wrote:What does Theravada say about "the illusion of all phenomenal existence" ?
One thing that is clearly said is the all dhammas are empty of any sort of self existing thingness.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby PeterB » Tue May 25, 2010 9:12 am

The piece of rope might not be a snake. But at the moment it IS a transient compounded thing called a piece of rope.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Tue May 25, 2010 9:17 am

PeterB wrote:The piece of rope might not be a snake. But at the moment it IS a transient compounded thing called a piece of rope.
Good, gawd; where is Bill Clinton when you need him. It depends what the meaning of "is" is.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby PeterB » Tue May 25, 2010 9:22 am

I did not have an exchange of possibly toxic fluids with that snake ! Which anyway appears according to convention as an object designated as " a length of rope".. and which is free of inherent thingness.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Shonin » Tue May 25, 2010 9:30 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Shonin wrote:What does Theravada say about "the illusion of all phenomenal existence" ?
One thing that is clearly said is the all dhammas are empty of any sort of self existing thingness.


Well, that's what I thought. And this is what Mahayana teaches too. Ideas about it being illusion are not universally regarded as useful in Mahayana.

I recall debating with at least one Theravadin who insisted that Anatta did not mean "all dhammas are empty of any sort of self existing thingness" (and thus that it meant the same as Sunyata as I was arguing) and that rather it only implied that 'I' don't have self-existing thingness, that no phenomena are me, mine etc. Yet it seems hard to see the notion that I don't have self-existing thingness, while my dog and the carrot in the fridge do, as a coherent philosophy.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue May 25, 2010 9:34 am

i'm not sure why anyone would say that, as all dhammas are anatta. however it is my own view that knowing whether or not the fridge really exists or not really has nothing to do with my liberation
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Brizzy » Tue May 25, 2010 9:37 am

Dhammakid wrote:Hello Everyone,
After much exploration elsewhere, I'm becoming interested in Theravada practice again while maintaining my Zen practice for now. We'll see where it leads eventually.

I read this article (http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index.php?showtopic=33109) on ES by Jeffrey Samuels discussing the presence of the bodhisattva ideal in Theravada practice. It got me thinking about whether or not this whole idea of Mahayana universal bodhisattva-hood and everyone becoming Buddhas might be a bit overblown, and that the Mahayana may have intentionally taken full ownership of the ideal as some sort of political ploy.

But then again, if Samuels is right and it's true that Buddhahood is open to anyone, even in the Hearers' vehicle, then what's the difference between the two schools? Why practice one over the other?

What's does Theravada actually believe about Buddhahood? I've read plenty of sources elsewhere stating only one being in a hundred billion kalpas will even have a chance to be predicted by a Buddha and thus make the vows to attain Buddhahood. And yet Samuels presents evidence that the path is open to all, which I guess I'm reading as all having a chance.

What's the truth of the matter, if there is any? Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

:anjali:
Dhammakid (aka Dharmakid)



Hi

Part of a post I made on another thread was as follows...........

A thought about Bodhisatta path...........

Nowhere in the four main Nikayas is a Bodhisatta path mentioned. The only time the Buddha refers to a Bodhisatta is in the context of a Buddhas last existence, his own or a former Buddhas. The Buddha mentions in sutta

http://www.mahindarama.com/e-tipitaka/Majjhima-Nikaya/mn-81.htm

where he encountered the dhamma of the previous Buddha and had to be dragged by the hair to actually see the Buddha Kassapa. This would intimate that this was our Buddha's first major encounter with the Dhamma, which was in the present aeon. There is no other mention of our Buddha meeting any other Buddha.

There is no mention in the four Nikayas of an aspiration to be a Buddha, this is the same for his disciples.

If our Buddha under Buddha Kassapa was practicing Dhamma to the fullest then he would have attained ariya. It cannot be, that you can practice fully and by a "wish" not achieve the results. See the following sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.101.than.html

If our Buddha was not pre-destined to be a Sammasambuddha then the suttas which declare that he hesitated to teach become clearer, it was still in the balance whether he would be a Sammasambuddha or a Pratyekabuddha. It was due to the efforts of a Great Brahma that tipped the balance.

The four Nikayas stand out as the words of the Buddha, all of the above is not very important but it highlights the huge disparity between what the Buddha actually SAID and what has become accepted as his teaching.

I have highlighted in previous postings my doubts about momentary concentration/path & fruit having to happen immediately and numerous other teachings that somehow do not make it into the four Nikayas, which brings me to my question..............................Why do people accept teachings that were not the Buddha's words/teachings and in many cases do not have the "flavour" of the suttadhamma?


You asked what the Theravada believed about Buddhahood, it might be more pertinent to ask what is said in the suttas/vinaya (the actual words of the Buddha). All explicit works that take "The Bodhisatta Path" as its subject cannot be attributed to the Buddha. That is not to say that many "beliefs, rites & rituals" have not blossomed in the Theravada/Mahayana/Vajrayana traditions.
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