Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

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Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Yes, all the time
14
20%
Sometimes, in passing
30
43%
No, I only read the Tipitaka
26
37%
 
Total votes : 70

Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby Aloka » Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:02 pm

Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?


No, not any more. They used to read like quaint mythical fairytale and fantasy fiction to me. Sorry Mahayana practitioners, no offence intended, just being honest !
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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby Nyana » Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:36 pm

For anyone interested, here are some informative resources: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby Virgo » Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:51 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:There is a considerable corpus of these Pāḷi Yogāvacara texts which haven't yet been translated into Western languages. There is also considerable historical evidence of Thera's engaging in the bodhisattva path, and even Indian Buddhist tantra (for example, tantric mantras have been discovered at Abhayagiri Vihāra and Vijayārāma Vihāra in Sri Lanka.

All the best,

Geoff

Right. Vajrayana was practiced in Sri Lanka until it was supressed by a King.

Kevin
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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:56 pm

tiltbillings wrote:It is a position that other Buddhists have held and was rejected by the Theravadins. I don't think there is any question about it; they meant it.


Sutras are multi layered documents meant to be interpreted by teachers. Sutra commentaries usually run to many times the length of the original document for this reason. I have read various sutra commentaries and literalism is not a way of understanding them that will usually yeild much of use or benefit. The Heart Sutra for example, would be sheer nonsense if taken literally and is highly profound if read by an informed reader. To paraphrase the Lankavatara Sutra, "Things are not as they seem, nor are they otherwise." :)
Joshu was asked,
"When a man comes to you with nothing,
what would you say to him ?"
Joshu replied, "Throw it away!"
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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:03 am

m0rl0ck wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:It is a position that other Buddhists have held and was rejected by the Theravadins. I don't think there is any question about it; they meant it.


Sutras are multi layered documents meant to be interpreted by teachers. Sutra commentaries usually run to many times the length of the original document for this reason. I have read various sutra commentaries and literalism is not a way of understanding them that will usually yeild much of use or benefit. The Heart Sutra for example, would be sheer nonsense if taken literally and is highly profound if read by an informed reader. To paraphrase the Lankavatara Sutra, "Things are not as they seem, nor are they otherwise." :)
Except docetism became a part of the view on things for some Mahayana schools.
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: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby alan » Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:27 am

Here is my position: Vast differences in philosophy and practice exist between the two schools, and Ajahn Brahm's talk avoids that fact, instead creating a pretend world where he can get along well with all the other teachers he flies off to see.
Yes, or No?
Please no snowstorm of irrelevant information. Just a simple response is all I ask.
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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:57 am

Greetings Alan,

alan wrote:Here is my position: Vast differences in philosophy and practice exist between the two schools, and Ajahn Brahm's talk avoids that fact, instead creating a pretend world where he can get along well with all the other teachers he flies off to see.
Yes, or No?.

Possibly.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby ground » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:48 am

m0rl0ck wrote:Sutras are multi layered documents meant to be interpreted by teachers. Sutra commentaries usually run to many times the length of the original document for this reason. I have read various sutra commentaries and literalism is not a way of understanding them that will usually yeild much of use or benefit. The Heart Sutra for example, would be sheer nonsense if taken literally and is highly profound if read by an informed reader. To paraphrase the Lankavatara Sutra, "Things are not as they seem, nor are they otherwise." :)


If "Literalism" does mean to take the written word at face value, i.e. to conclude from the fact that specific words and terminologies are applied that the referents of these words are meant to be real by the sutra then one should not even take most of the words of the Buddha in the suttas of the pali canon at face value. E.g. the teachings of the 12 links of dependent origination are highly metaphorical.
The correct way to look at most of the the sutras and suttas is to evaluate their effect on the subject on the psycho-mental level that is beyond conceptual language-based thinking. It is there where the "truth" in the context of "being conducive in relation to the path" can be found.
Actually the only statements that can be taken at face value are these that instruct the subject to do/cultivate "this" and cast aside/abandon "that".

Kind regards
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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:56 am

TMingyur wrote:If "Literalism" does mean to take the written word at face value, i.e. to conclude from the fact that specific words and terminologies are applied that the referents of these words are meant to be real by the sutra then one should not even take most of the words of the Buddha in the suttas of the pali canon at face value. E.g. the teachings of the 12 links of dependent origination are highly metaphorical.
The correct way to look at most of the the sutras and suttas is to evaluate their effect on the subject on the psycho-mental level that is beyond conceptual language-based thinking. It is there where the "truth" in the context of "being conducive in relation to the path" can be found.
Actually the only statements that can be taken at face value are these that instruct the subject to do/cultivate "this" and cast aside/abandon "that".

Kind regards
I don't think it is ever that simple. I suspect a lot of the Mahayana sutras have a very literal component about them, or were taken by later followers as being literal. It is the nature of the beast.
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: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby Nyana » Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:53 pm

alan wrote:Here is my position: Vast differences in philosophy and practice exist between the two schools, and Ajahn Brahm's talk avoids that fact, instead creating a pretend world where he can get along well with all the other teachers he flies off to see.
Yes, or No?
Please no snowstorm of irrelevant information. Just a simple response is all I ask.

As for practice, there are right now traditional Theravāda practitioners who practice devotion towards one's teacher and pūja worship and mindfulness and the pāramīs just as much and just as intently as any Mahāyāna practitioner would. And there are right now traditional Mahāyāna practitioners who practice renunciation and mindfulness and samādhi just as much and just as intently as any Theravāda practitioner would.

As for view, saṃsāra is to be let go of, nirvāṇa is to be realized. Period. Everything else is -- at best -- a means towards this end; otherwise it's just a conceptual distraction.
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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby Sanghamitta » Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:45 pm

I have grown to have respect for your views Nana , but this is a tad disingenuous.
No Theravadin takes a vow to a particular teacher as do the Vajrayana...the penalty for the breaking of which is " Vajra Hell ".
And no Theravadin sees Pujas as more than an expedient means...not something which confers objective " sacramental" change.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby Nyana » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:13 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:I have grown to have respect for your views Nana , but this is a tad disingenuous.
No Theravadin takes a vow to a particular teacher as do the Vajrayana...the penalty for the breaking of which is " Vajra Hell ".
And no Theravadin sees Pujas as more than an expedient means...not something which confers objective " sacramental" change.

The topic of this thread pertains to Mahāyāna sūtras. Thus the context of this discussion is the sūtrayāna. The fruitional vehicle (phalayāna, vajrayāna) isn't directly relevant to the topic at hand.

What I said about pūjas was in terms of the frequency and quality of devotion, not the specific object of devotion per se (which need not be the same). I am certainly not saying that the śrāvakayāna and the bodhisattvayāna are the same. And I've already mentioned that there is no homogeneous Mahāyāna.

Moreover, a Mahāyāna practitioner (including a vajrayāna tantrika) who has realized the view will know that pūjas are expedient means and will eventually realize that there is no such thing as "objective sacramental change."

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby Sanghamitta » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:29 pm

So why dont they just cut out the middleman ? Why create yet another set of provisional " realities" to be eventually dropped ?
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby Nyana » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:37 pm

Upāya: expedient means specific to each mind-stream. Until one is either an arahant or a very advanced bodhisattva one is necessarily going to rely on expedient means. The path is all about leaning to employ expedient means.
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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby Virgo » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:37 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:As for practice, there are right now traditional Theravāda practitioners who practice devotion towards one's teacher and pūja worship and mindfulness and the pāramīs just as much and just as intently as any Mahāyāna practitioner would.


Hi Nana,

I have never met a Theravada practitioner that does puja, offering ghee, scents and substances the way it is traditionally done in other Indian traditions, or as in Mahayana/ Vajrayana. Of course you might find people paying respects to a shrine or circumnabulating a Bodhi tree, but that is about it. Devotion to the teacher is only natural, this is especially the case if the teacher causes you to attain enlightenment. You would, very likely, feel a great affinity for them and have intense gratitude for what they have shown you. The Ten Paramis are very traditional in Theravada. If you read the Commentaries, you will see that you can only attain enlightenment if you have cultivated Paramis.

[quote= Nana]And there are right now traditional Mahāyāna practitioners who practice renunciation and mindfulness and samādhi just as much and just as intently as any Theravāda practitioner would.
[/quote]

Yes, but they do so, from our perspective, with wrong view. For example they feel that Buddhas exist after death and so on. Because of their views, they don't want to see the impermanence of all conditioned dhammas because it would cause them to "enter nibbana" and become Arahants. Instead, they want to see the emptiness in all phenomena (the special Mahayana emptiness that is very different from what is described as emptiness in Theravada). We want to see real dhammas as impermanent so that we let go of these very real things. They don't believe things are real on the ultimate level, but that they are all dreamlike empty illusion. The goal and path are in fact very different. This is fleshed out even more in the Vajrayana. Different path, different goal.

That is the way I see it anyway.

all the best,
Kevin
Last edited by Virgo on Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby Nyana » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:45 pm

I suppose that I should add that I'm not denying that mahāyānikas believe in long living buddhas and very advanced bodhisattvas who abide in pure realms beyond this world system. Nor an I denying that mahāyānikas believe in the causal efficacy of communicating with these buddhas and bodhisattvas.

All Buddhist schools -- including the classical Theravāda -- accept that Nātha (a.k.a. Nāthadeva) bodhisattva is currently residing as a deva in Tuṣita heaven, and that he will be reborn as Ajita and become the next buddha of this world system named Maitreya (Metteyya). It is also accepted that a practitioner who has developed the divine eye (divyacakṣus, dibbacakkhu) and other higher gnoses can perceive and communicate with deities. The Mahāyāna teachings have taken this one step further and accept that a practitioner who has developed the divine eye, etc., can also perceive and communicate with with buddhas and advanced bodhisattvas who reside in pure realms beyond this world system. Moreover, by paying homage to them and engaging in pūja and sādhanā one can generate merit, which is conducive to helping the practitioner attain buddhahood him or herself. And beyond this, when the practitioner has developed their higher faculties, they can receive teaching instructions directly from these buddhas and bodhisattvas. The Mahāyāna teachings on pūja and sādhanā are an extension of recollection of the buddha (buddhānusmṛti), which dates to the earliest strata of the canonical discourses (and buddhānusmṛti as devatāyoga sādhanā can be expanded to include dharmānusmṛti, saṅghānusmṛti, śīlānusmṛti, tyāgānusmṛti, and devatānusmṛti into a unified practice).

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby Sanghamitta » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:49 pm

I think I will stick to Vipassana thanks all the same. You boys can work up your CV's as much as you want of course.
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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby Virgo » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:59 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:I suppose that I should add that I'm not denying that mahāyānikas believe in long living buddhas and very advanced bodhisattvas who abide in pure realms beyond this world system. Nor an I denying that mahāyānikas believe in the causal efficacy of communicating with these buddhas and bodhisattvas.

All Buddhist schools -- including the classical Theravāda -- accept that Nātha (a.k.a. Nāthadeva) bodhisattva is currently residing as a deva in Tuṣita heaven, and that he will be reborn as Ajita and become the next buddha of this world system named Maitreya (Metteyya).


The difference is that He is a bodhisatta reborn there simply because of his past accumulations of Parami, and that when He becomes a Buddha, after parinibbana, He will be no more, never to be found. He will not reside in a pure realm with six legs and six arms, giving gain to those that say his mantra or call on him alone.

It is also accepted that a practitioner who has developed the divine eye (divyacakṣus, dibbacakkhu) and other higher gnoses can perceive and communicate with deities.
Of course.

The Mahāyāna teachings have taken this one step further and accept that a practitioner who has developed the divine eye, etc., can also perceive and communicate with with buddhas and advanced bodhisattvas who reside in pure realms beyond this world system. Moreover, by paying homage to them and engaging in pūja and sādhanā one can generate merit, which is conducive to helping the practitioner attain buddhahood him or herself. And beyond this, when the practitioner has developed their higher faculties, they can receive teaching instructions directly from these buddhas and bodhisattvas.


It sounds like whoever developed this had a wind disorder, a very chronic one, and a heapload of delusion and misdirected faith and energies. But that is just my opinon. No offense to your faith or any ones elses.


The Mahāyāna teachings on pūja and sādhanā are an extension of recollection of the buddha (buddhānusmṛti), which dates to the earliest strata of the canonical discourses (and buddhānusmṛti as devatāyoga sādhanā can be expanded to include dharmānusmṛti, saṅghānusmṛti, śīlānusmṛti, tyāgānusmṛti, and devatānusmṛti into a unified practice).


I disagree. In Mahayana calling the Buddha Amitabhas name is a common practice (sometimes with visualisation). This is more than recollecting the Buddhas good qualities to increase your faith and devotion, make you happy and joyful, and develop samadhi. It is a petition for some long gone Buddha to interfere in your death process and bring you to his land.

Likewise in Tantra, it is always a petition for some interaction, and in HYT, trying to recognize that Buddha withing your own Buddha nature, or bring it out. If it is an extension of recollection of the Buddha, it is very, very, extended.

Kevin
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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby Nyana » Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:09 pm

Virgo wrote:I have never met a Theravada practitioner that does puja, offering ghee, scents and substances the way it is traditionally done in other Indian traditions, or as in Mahayana/ Vajrayana.

I have. And this isn't just a modern phenomenon.

Virgo wrote:Yes, but they do so, from our perspective, with wrong view. For example they feel that Buddhas exist after death and so on. Because of their views, they don't want to see the impermanence of all conditioned dhammas because it would cause them to "enter nibbana" and become Arahants.

This isn't accurate. There are many Mahāyāna teachings on the impermanence of conditioned dharmas. Moreover, it is accepted by all Mahāyāna gradualist teachings that upon attaining the path of seeing and becoming a noble bodhisattva, one must realize penetrative insight into the four noble truths. Moreover, all 37 factors of awakening are to be developed and employed as the bodhisattva progresses towards realizing unsurpassable, supreme awakening. It is the bodhisattva's development of compassion and bodhisattva vow which prevents him or her from entering the śrāvakayāna stream at this stage, not their lack of discerning impermanence.

Also, it is stated in the Mahāyāna sūtras that buddhas -- even long living ones -- eventually enter parinirvāṇa.

Virgo wrote:Instead, they want to see the emptiness in all phenomena (the special Mahayana emptiness that is very different from what is described as emptiness in Theravada). We want to see real dhammas as impermanent so that we let go of these very real things.

For mahāyānikas the purpose of discerning emptiness is to eliminate passion, aggression, and delusion.

Virgo wrote:They don't believe things are real on the ultimate level, but that they are all dreamlike empty illusion.

There are also Thera's who have the same view of phenomena.

Virgo wrote:The goal and path are in fact very different.

The goal of the śrāvakayāna is to attain arahanthood. The goal of the bodhisattvayāna is to attain buddhahood.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Do you also read Mahayana Sutras?

Postby Nyana » Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:14 pm

Virgo wrote:I disagree.

That's fine. I'm not trying to convince you of anything. Merely attempting to address a few very common misconceptions about Mahāyāna practice. (And these misconceptions are not limited to just non-mahāyānikas.)
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