The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby 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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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby 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.)
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 » 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

Postby 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.
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 » 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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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:02 am

PeterB wrote: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 "..

Easy to talk the talk, but not being real no real chance of walking the walk. Damn, I noted.
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 mikenz66 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:04 am

Hi Peter,

While some Mahanaya suffer from "emptiness sickness" Theravadins can be susceptible to the related strain of "paramattha sickness", where objects are labelled as "concepts" and then declared to not exist...

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:07 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Peter,

While some Mahanaya suffer from "emptiness sickness" Theravadins can be susceptible to the related strain of "paramattha sickness", where objects are labelled as "concepts" and then declared to not exist...

Mike

But let us not forget the flip side: objects do exist, at least for the moment.
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 mikenz66 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:18 am

Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:But let us not forget the flip side: object do exist, at least for the moment.

Yes, I thought that was what I was implying.

I think some of the difficulties we have wrestling with these ideas is the language. Or, more specifically, the overtones that the English translations carry that are not necessarily part of the original meaning. When we use words like "conceptual", "ultimate", or "emptiness" we drag a lot of baggage in...

Mike
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Shonin » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:31 am

Dexing wrote:I have quoted no Yogacara text thus far, but only very widely accepted Sutras in all Mahayana schools which say the same things explicitly. Namely I have quoted here the Shurangama Sutra and various Prajnaparamita Sutras.


I'm not familiar with the Shurangama Sutra, but as a Chan text, without research I can't eliminate a Yogacara influence. Nevertheless you should take the mass of counter-evidence as evidence for re-examining the accuracy of your interpretation of your selective quotes from these sutras.

Your mistaken notions about rupa and sunyata referring to colour and space have already been refuted.

However, reading your excerpts from the Shurangama Sutra strongly suggests an anti-realist philosophy and thus, most likely, a Yogacara or quasi-Hindu influence. But anti-realism is not the mainstream understanding of Sunyata, which is much more subtle than that.

What each of your excerpts are saying is not in conflict with the "literal interpretation of Yogacara". If you really understand Yogacara teachings, it is saying the same thing in your excerpts.

That is, there is simply nothing to point to and say "this exists" or "this does not exist". If you attach to non-existence, saying something does not exist, then there is still "something" to not exist.

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.


You have changed your position. Previously you were arguing that all phenomena are an illusion and in reality are unreal and non-existent. Now you are saying it means that neither 'exist' and 'not exist' apply. Which is it?

Sunyata does indeed reveal that in a sense neither 'exist' nor 'not exist' apply (except by convention) but this is completely different to (ie. a direct contradiction of) saying that everything is an illusion and nothing exists.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby PeterB » Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:05 am

One for for the " "There's nothing new under the sun " department.

" After we came out of church we stood talking of Bishop Berkeleys ingenious sophistry to prove the non existence of matter and that everything in the universe is merely ideal. I observed that although we are satified that his doctrine is untrue, it is impossible to refute it.
I shall never forget the alacrity with which he ( Samuel Johnson ) answered, sriking his foot with mighty force against a large stone until he rebounded from it, " I refute it THUS ! "

From Boswell's Life Of Doctor Johnson.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Shonin » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:33 am

A Zen monk was leaving the temple when he stubbed his toe hard on a rock. He said "Do not be fooled by others".
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Dexing » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:31 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)?

Kind regards


They are not contradicting. They are both saying there is nothing to point to and label as "existing" or "not existing". There is simply nothing there at all. But attaching to this non-existence saying something "does not exist" is still asserting "something" that does not exist.

It sounds contradictory, but the first instance is showing the unreality of illusory objects, and the second is cautioning you not to attach to the non-existence of the object, because that would assert "something" that does not exist. Like illusory flowers floating in the sky when the sight becomes fatigued. Actually nothing is there, but if you stubbornly cling to these flowers as "existing" or "not existing" then you make them real either way. But first you must realize what appears before you is an illusion.

Make sense?

As for sharing the same object of subjective experience, it is explained as "collective karma". A human being will have a certain type of experience shared by other beings of the same path. Much like hungry ghosts or devas, or even how two cows might perceive an object in the same way as black and white, while humans perceive another color. Which is seeing the true appearance of the world? It is actually individual and collective karma at work here.

:namaste:
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Dexing » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:41 am

dhamma follower wrote: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 ?


Bodhicitta is an aspiration based on an insight and faith in the teaching of all as an illusion. Bodhicitta is then the aspiration to attain reality. With an actual breakthrough, Bodhi, one is no longer an Ordinary Being and need not rely on Bodhicitta.

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!!!!


The realization is not thorough in an Ordinary Being, but an insight which produces an arousal of faith and aspiration to full realization- Bodhicitta. But an insight into the illusory nature of an Ordinary Being's perceived world is necessary.

A Buddha does not have consciousness. Consciousness always belongs to Ordinary Beings. When one becomes a Buddha the Eight Consciousnesses are transformed into Four Wisdoms.

That's actually what I said, to be more precise.

Otherwise, as some one has noticed, many of your points are merely convictions without a solid basis of investigation and actual experiences.


I'm interested in how they could know what my investigations and actual experiences might be.

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 ?


From a Mahayana perspective, in regards to the Nibbana of an Arahant, it is the cessation of suffering associated with the false view of self. Meaning the Arahant has eradicated that false view. However, there is still the duality of Consciousness and Object of Consciousness, Inside and Outside. There is simply no identification with the process.

:namaste:
Last edited by Dexing on Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:42 am

Dexing wrote:"collective karma"


:alien:
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby PeterB » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:59 am

Dexing wrote:
dhamma follower wrote: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 ?


Bodhicitta is an aspiration based on an insight and faith in the teaching of all as an illusion. Bodhicitta is then the aspiration to attain reality. With an actual breakthrough, Bodhi, one is no longer an Ordinary Being and need not rely on Bodhicitta.

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!!!!


The realization is not thorough in an Ordinary Being, but an insight which produces an arousal of faith and aspiration to full realization- Bodhicitta. But an insight into the illusory nature of an Ordinary Being's perceived world is necessary.

A Buddha does not have consciousness. Consciousness always belongs to Ordinary Beings. When one becomes a Buddha the Eight Consciousnesses are transformed into Four Wisdoms.

That's actually what I said, to be more precise.

Otherwise, as some one has noticed, many of your points are merely convictions without a solid basis of investigation and actual experiences.


I'm interested in how they could know what my investigations and actual experiences might be.

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 ?


From a Mahayana perspective, in regards to the Nibbana of an Arahant, it is the cessation of suffering associated with the false view of self. Meaning the Arahant has eradicated that false view. However, there is still the duality of Consciousness and Object of Consciousness, Inside and Outside. There is simply no identification with the process.

:namaste:

I have an alternative way to not rely on Bodhicitta as developed in the Mahayana. It involves not finding any concept analogous to it in the teachings of the Buddha and therefore assigning it to a kind of mental museum of curious notions that need not detain me overly.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Shonin » Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:03 pm

Dexing wrote:From a Mahayana perspective, in regards to the Nibbana of an Arahant, it is the cessation of suffering associated with the false view of self. Meaning the Arahant has eradicated that false view. However, there is still the duality of Consciousness and Object of Consciousness, Inside and Outside. There is simply no identification with the process.


Genuinely ending the false view of self is not merely an intellectual position. The end of identifications IS the ending of the false view of self.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Shonin » Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:11 pm

Dexing wrote:They are not contradicting. They are both saying there is nothing to point to and label as "existing" or "not existing". There is simply nothing there at all. But attaching to this non-existence saying something "does not exist" is still asserting "something" that does not exist.

It sounds contradictory, but the first instance is showing the unreality of illusory objects, and the second is cautioning you not to attach to the non-existence of the object, because that would assert "something" that does not exist.


It seems to me - and I suspect to many other respondents here - that it is you who is attaching to non-existence as shown by the way you repeatedly insist on it and defend it as a transcendent ontological/metaphysical reality. It isn't just the non-existence of 'individual things' which is a mistaken view, but the non-existence of 'everything' ie. that there is any such non-existence at all. It is another form of self-view: reality has an essential/inherent/objective nature and that nature is nothingness.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby dhamma follower » Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:07 pm

Bodhicitta is an aspiration based on an insight and faith in the teaching of all as an illusion. Bodhicitta is then the aspiration to attain reality. With an actual breakthrough, Bodhi, one is no longer an Ordinary Being and need not rely on Bodhicitta
The realization is not thorough in an Ordinary Being, but an insight which produces an arousal of faith and aspiration to full realization- Bodhicitta. But an insight into the illusory nature of an Ordinary Being's perceived world is necessary.



Interesting, you've changed "all are illusion" into "all as illusion"....

You have yet to explain how this insight happen in actual experience? So far, it seems to be merely an intellectual position. What puzzles me is how can you know that this seemingly an intllectual "insight" is a deeper understanding of reality than the experience of Nibanna, since apparently, your understanding of the experience of Nibanna relies only on what you've read in Mahayana texts, which are not accepted by Therevadin :

From a Mahayana perspective, in regards to the Nibbana of an Arahant, it is the cessation of suffering associated with the false view of self. Meaning the Arahant has eradicated that false view. However, there is still the duality of Consciousness and Object of Consciousness, Inside and Outside. There is simply no identification with the process


First, the self view is already eradicated at the sotapana level. For an Arahant, it's delusion which is eradicated, according to Theravada.
Second, how can self-view be eradicated if there's still a perceiver in the experience ? Where is it said in Theravada texts? and actually, Nibanna is even beyond the merging of the perceived and the perceiver, it is beyond nama and rupa.
Third, the "simple" non-identification with the process happens at much lower levels of insights.

So, this Mahayana perspective is based on a superficial if not erroneous understanding of Theravada.

I'm interested in how they could know what my investigations and actual experiences might be.


You are welcomed to prove otherwise by providing more specific answers about the actual insight, and its relationships with bodhicitta, instead of just exposing your convictions. May be as some have suggested, it would be helpful to make definitions of some key terms in your position, such as: bodhicitta, illusion, arahant, bodhisattva, consciousness etc....

like when you say:
A Buddha does not have consciousness. Consciousness always belongs to Ordinary Beings.
then it gives rise to :thinking:

Probably before that it would be necessary to try to understand Theravada more thoroughly.

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Hoo » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:50 pm

Otherwise, as some one has noticed, many of your points are merely convictions without a solid basis of investigation and actual experiences.


I'm interested in how they could know what my investigations and actual experiences might be.


I'm one of those who also sees a lack of communicated investigations and actual experiences. Note that I am referring to what you seem not to have communicated, which Is the point of the first quote, I suspect. I understand, I believe, your staements that the Mahayana texts prove your convictions, but the same thing is said by their respective followers of the Bible, The Koran, The Pali canon, etc. Your inquiry/point seems to be the bodhisattva ideal in Theravada. To how many believers in other systems can you speak using just the Mahayana texts as your basis?

This has been most interesting, Dexing, but I'm afraid I'm losing interest in statements of personal conviction. I can read descriptions of the bodhisatta in Theravada in other places that appear to be willing to quote sources in the Pali Canon. I can read many varied versions of Mahayana belief and the bodhisattva ideal in other places and they don't coincide quite with what you have presented.

:soap: If you came to demonstrate you are right, you join the ranks of at least 4,000 years of others who did the same on their convictions. Get into religion and poorly recorded history and you can take it much further back. None of them...none...have successfully shown the world that they alone are right. If they had, there would be only one religion/system of beliefs now. All others could readily see how false they are. ......But none of that seems to be happening.

Should you have a teacher that blames it on the blunt faculties of the poor deluded who practice modern Western philosophy (happened to me in one discussion), inform him/her that the philosophical systems in question are documented to 4,000 years, roughly 1500 prior to the Buddha. "Everything is change" goes back about 3000 years in documentation and there's a link to the same continent. That philosopher didn't come out of the box that way, I suspect. The issue of change and what it means has been around for a long time, IMHO. end/ :soap:

But it's just my views again :) It does raise the question in my mind (and maybe it should in yours) why a rigid belief or preference of a system doesn't just take us into year 4,001 of being wrong? In my case, I believe the Buddha did a pretty good job of making a practical description of non-conceptual process/situation/etc. But even among Buddhists there is debate on what He said, if He said it, when He said it, why He said it that way, etc. So I don't try to tell a devoted Yogacara that he's wrong. I tell him that his position of strict mind-only has some serious counterarguements to deal with - unless he's just an evangalist interested in only convincing others.

If you do decide to move this thread over to Dharma Wheel, I'm afraid I won't be around much. I don't go there often because there's little there that interests me. I find I do better listening to what the Buddha said, rather than what people say the Buddha said. So far, I find that mostly in the Pali Canon.
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