Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation
PeterB
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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:58 am

So the question becomes do the metaphors point to the clear and concise teachings as found in the Canon ?
Or do they result in muddied water ?

Shonin
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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby Shonin » Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:25 pm

PeterB wrote:So the question becomes do the metaphors point to the clear and concise teachings as found in the Canon ?
Or do they result in muddied water ?


The only relevant question is whether the metaphors point to lessons that lead to the end of suffering. Are they expedient means to Nibbana. Conformity with a particular dogma is not necessary.

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:27 pm

Shonin wrote:
PeterB wrote:So the question becomes do the metaphors point to the clear and concise teachings as found in the Canon ?
Or do they result in muddied water ?


The only relevant question is whether the metaphors point to lessons that lead to the end of suffering. Are they expedient means to Nibbana. Conformity with a particular dogma is not necessary.


Having invested a number of years in exploring the implications of those metaphors I came to the conclusion that they obscure the lessons that lead to the end of suffering by raising a whole new set of questions.

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby Shonin » Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:42 pm

PeterB wrote:Having invested a number of years in exploring the implications of those metaphors I came to the conclusion that they obscure the lessons that lead to the end of suffering by raising a whole new set of questions.


Can you give an example? Is the mythical Buddha Metteyya exempt ?

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:44 pm

Shonin wrote:
PeterB wrote:Having invested a number of years in exploring the implications of those metaphors I came to the conclusion that they obscure the lessons that lead to the end of suffering by raising a whole new set of questions.


Can you give an example? Is the mythical Buddha Metteyya exempt ?

You just supplied an example.

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby Shonin » Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:19 pm

Well some people seem to find myths useful and some don't.

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:23 pm

My own view is that if all of the mythological content were stripped from the Pali Canon it would be shorter and much more useful.

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby Shonin » Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:44 pm

I'm inclined to agree actually.

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby Kenshou » Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:59 pm

Which leads to the long and probably painful argument on what is and is not myth.

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:02 pm

I tend to assume that when the Buddha is talking about the here and now which is much of the time, its not myth.

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby Kenshou » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:05 pm

I didn't mean to imply that I think that absolutely everything in the canon has potential to be mistaken for myth. Some things are so straighforward that they're quite obviously not mythic junk, for the most part.

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby wukong » Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:36 pm

PeterB if you don't mind me making this observation, and please I don't mean any disrespect

but your view towards buddhism strikes me as rather occidental and 20th cen. modernistic.

What I mean by this is that a lot of western converts to buddhism do so because they wish to move away from supernatural aspects of their former christian backgrounds/culture. Your view on wanting to do away with the mythological aspects of the pali canon is typical of this, i think. I also think that to remove the 'mythology' of buddhism in the pali canon and theravada in general would be so counter to the experience of theravada as a lived tradition.

Regarding your views on mahayana i wonder if there is not a little bit of hubris here. Historically Theravada and mahayana equally have no claim on the origins of buddhism and the scriptures. theravada and mahayana equally have different accounts of the first few hundred years after the buddha's paribibbana. of course if you come from a purely theravada perspective and have been told nothing else then of course you are going to say that there was nothing else taught by and believed about the buddha in ancient india that is not in the pali canon. but if you look at the history of things like the second council ( and not just the theravada version) it is clear that there were other teachings of the buddha not included in the pali canon.

the view often persists in the west that theravada is the older of the two main forms of buddhism. this view arose from the western worlds first serious engagement with buddhism through the british empire and the likes of the london based buddhist society. because the initial contact was with theravada it was therefore theravada that set the benchmark in determining what was authentically buddhist for a long time in many british institutions.

my main point, i guess, is to ask you to be careful when you suggest that mahayana has made a lot of things up.

also, regarding vajrayana, what i really don't understand is why people just assume that tantric buddhism was influenced by hinduism when in fact it is hinduism that has had more of a history of absorbing and adapting religious ideas. in fact when mahayana and tantra became popular in india it was buddhism that was the intellectual elite in many parts of india - sugesting that tantra is more buddhist than hindu. besides, in theravada countries there are innumerable non-buddhist deity worship in both buddhist homes and temples. just look at the role of vishnu in sri lankan buddhism.

on the other hand i think a lot of mahayanists should be reprimanded for labelling theravada with the pejorative 'hinayana' word. to me theravada is clearly not hinayana ( hinayana as a type of school only existed in ancient india) but because of a lack of misunderstanding by western students and what some big teachers have said in the past views like that are hard to eradicate.

these are just a few thoughts, peter, and all i'm suggesting is that you be careful with the quite radical (and unfortuneately common) assumptions you are making on the superiority of theravada over mahayana. honestly, the more i learn the less different the two seem.

these are just opinions of mine and i am only trying to draw attention to common divisive views and accusations that buddhists (particularly we western buddhists) often fling at each other.

much love

wukong

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby PeterB » Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:51 pm

I don't think that the Theravada is superior to the Mahayana Wukong.
I think that they are two different religions with some shared vocabulary.

For what its worth I spent more than 25 years in a Vajrayana sangha...replete with every variety of supernatural belief you could think of. I found after the first 18 or so years that it no longer resonated for me.
Incidentally you are wrong about the London Buddhist Society. Theravada was hardly represented there at all when I was learning about Buddhadhamma.

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby wukong » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:09 pm

Peter, theravada and mahayana are two different religions? then would you say that mahayana or vajrayana is not buddhism? from what you have been discussing this would appear to be what you're saying.

regarding the buddhist society, today they consist of actual practicing buddhists but in the days of empire it consisted of people who's interest was more academic than engaged.

much love

wukong

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby PeterB » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:15 pm

Wukong you have chosen of your own free will to join a Theravadin forum, and you are most welcome.
You must not be surprised to encounter a range of Theravadin views on a Theravadin website however.
I do not want to convert you to the Theravada. If you are interested in Theravadin views you have come to the right place. I personally do not believe that there is some kind of Pan Buddhism.
I think that the teachings found in the Pali Canon represent most fully the teachings of the historical Buddha,
I have no interest in Mahayana teachings.

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:33 pm

PeterB wrote:I think that the teachings found in the Pali Canon represent most fully the teachings of the historical Buddha,
I have no interest in Mahayana teachings.

:twothumbsup: ... and I understand the question wasn't about non-Theravadin religions either, so, this all being irrelevent, I think we should stay sensitive to the OP and not go off-topic. :)

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:37 pm

theravada_guy wrote:I'm just stating my personal difficulty in believing that [there are other Buddhas or Bodhisattvas in other realms], and curious what the Pali Canon says

:focus:

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby PeterB » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:05 pm

theravada_guy wrote:Greetings all,

This is my first post in awhile. I've been wondering, is there anything the Buddha ever said that would disprove the existence of other contemporary Buddhas, like the Medicine Buddha and Amitabha Buddha? And Bodhisattvas like Chenrezig, etc.? I know there's Maitreya and the Buddha's that preceded Gautama Buddha. For me, it's practically impossible to believe in the Buddhas/Bodhisattvas of Mahayana tradition. I'm in no way trying to put Mahayana down. I'm just stating my personal difficulty in believing that, and curious what the Pali Canon says, if anything.

On a side note, how many Buddhas were there before our Buddha? How many will there be after Maitreya is born and passes into Nibbana?

I'm asking on here because there are folks on this forum with a lot more knowledge of the Pali Canon than I have. And, again, I'm not bashing Mahayana.


Thanks for any help!


Thats a fair point Mawkish..heres the O.P.

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby Goedert » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:16 pm

No matter if some one is Theravada or Mahayana or any yana.

But we to be very careful of our views.

Things like "Every politican is not good". It can conduce us to bad behavior.

If one see the history he see that theravada and mahayana come from the first sangha thats all. We don't need to get a strong cling and speak unpleseant words to each other from different sect.

If indeed we wanna discuss something, discuss the doctrine not the mahayana or theravada or something.

When we move the discussing to what is the right one, we lead the discussing to near a fight. But if in another way we lead the discussion about theravada duties, mahayana duties, vajrayana duties it won't be a fight.

We know that is different duties, so we don't need to say what is more right. Just explain why they have that dutie, its origin, etc.

For example we know that mahayana buddhas are not thought by Gautama, but they use them as object that Personify and Aspect like wisdom, compassion, etc. We theravadins must respect theyre duties and they must respect our duties also.

Lets have friendship.

:group:

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:23 pm

Goedert wrote:No matter if some one is Theravada or Mahayana or any yana. . . . Lets have friendship.
Okay, but let us get back to the topic, please.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson


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