How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Viscid » Wed Dec 22, 2010 7:36 pm

Annapurna wrote:
If a lie is made with wisdom, out of compassion and results in reducing suffering, it is in my opinion worth making.


Did the Buddha teach this?

No. If yes, quote with source please.


Lotus Sutra. Sorry if it isn't part of your dogma.

The Buddha wrote:"Shariputra, suppose that in a certain town in a certain country there was a very rich man. He was far along in years and his wealth was beyond measure. He had many fields, houses and menservants. His own house was big and rambling, but it had only one gate. A great many people--a hundred, two hundred, perhaps as many as five hundred--lived in the house. The halls and rooms were old and decaying, the walls crumbling, the pillars rotten at their base, and the beams and rafters crooked and aslant. At that time a fire suddenly broke out on all sides, spreading through the rooms of the house. The sons of the rich man, ten, twenty perhaps thirty, were inside the house. When the rich man saw the huge flames leaping up on every side, he was greatly alarmed and fearful and thought to himself, I can escape to safety through the flaming gate, but my sons are inside the burning house enjoying themselves and playing games, unaware, unknowing, without alarm or fear. The fire is closing in on them, suffering and pain threaten them, yet their minds have no sense of loathing or peril and they do not think of trying to escape! "Shariputra, this rich man thought to himself, I have strength in my body and arms. I can wrap them in a robe or place them on a bench and carry them out of the house. And then again he thought, this house has only one gate, and moreover it is narrow and small. My sons are very young, they have no understanding, and they love their games, being so engrossed in them that they are likely to be burned in the fire. I must explain to them why I am fearful and alarmed. The house is already in flames and I must get them out quickly and not let them be burned up in the fire! Having thought in this way, he followed his plan and called to all his sons, saying, 'You must come out at once!" But though the father was moved by pity and gave good words of instruction, the sons were absorbed in their games and unwilling to heed them. They had no alarm, no fright, and in the end no mind to leave the house. Moreover, they did not understand what the fire was, what the house was, what the danger was. They merely raced about this way and that in play and looked at their father without heeding him. "At that time the rich man had this thought: the house is already in flames from this huge fire. If I and my sons do not get out at once, we are certain to be burned. I must now invent some expedient means that will make it possible for the children to escape harm. The father understood his sons and knew what various toys and curious objects each child customarily liked and what would delight them. And so he said to them, 'The kind of playthings you like are rare and hard to find. If you do not take them when you can, you will surely regret it later. For example, things like these goat-carts, deer-carts and ox-carts. They are outside the gate now where you can play with them. So you must come out of this burning house at once. Then whatever ones you want, I will give them all to you!' "At that time, when the sons heard their father telling them about these rare playthings, because such things were just what they had wanted, each felt emboldened in heart and, pushing and shoving one another, they all came wildly dashing out of the burning house.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Wed Dec 22, 2010 7:57 pm

Viscid wrote:
Lotus Sutra. Sorry if it isn't part of your dogma.



Yeah, sorry, the Buddha doesn't teach lying even in terms of expediency. All you need are these 4 conditions to be met, and you're telling a lie:

Four conditions of musavada (Telling lies)

1.The thing said must be untrue.
2. There must be an intention to deceive.
3.There must be an effort made as a result of the said intention.
4. The other must know the meaning of what is said.

If these conditions are fulfilled, the fourth precept is violated.

Buddhism doesn't believe in privileged lies.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Annapurna » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:05 pm

Agree, Wizard.

Viscid, where did the father lie here?

'The kind of playthings you like are rare and hard to find. If you do not take them when you can, you will surely regret it later. For example, things like these goat-carts, deer-carts and ox-carts. They are outside the gate now where you can play with them. So you must come out of this burning house at once. Then whatever ones you want, I will give them all to you!'


The playthings were outside of the house, he did not specify where, how far away, in the garden, or in the next town at a toymaker, just outside. "Outside the gate" can be anywhere.

Of course they can play with them outside the gate, wherever this is.

He will give them to his sons, future, he did not specify when, if at once, tomorrow, or next week.

Where did he lie?

Perhaps I missed it. :thinking:

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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Viscid » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:09 pm

Annapurna wrote:Agree, Wizard.

Viscid, where did the father lie here?

He will give them to his sons, future, he did not specify when, if at once, tomorrow, or next week.


Where did he lie?

Perhaps I missed it. :thinking:

With metta


Yeah, you missed it:

They are outside the gate now where you can play with them.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Annapurna » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:25 pm

No, Viscid, I did not miss that.

I even explained to you why that is not a lie.


He also said:

For example, things like these goat-carts, deer-carts and ox-carts are outside the gate.

Things LIKE those.

He did not specify which, -by saying "like those".

He did not specify, by saying where outside of the gate.

He lured them out, and could easily fulfil his promise by buying new toys, that are "outside of the gate" by a toymaker

That is all within his words.

And so he did not lie.

Do you understand this?

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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Viscid » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:33 pm

Annapurna wrote:No, Viscid, I did not miss that.

I even explained to you why that is not a lie.


He also said:

For example, things like these goat-carts, deer-carts and ox-carts are outside the gate.

Things LIKE those.

He did not specify.


Okay, but, there weren't things even "LIKE" those toys outside the gate ready to be played with. He had the wisdom to make up their existence in order to get the kids out of the burning house.

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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:17 pm

Viscid wrote:Okay, but, there weren't things even "LIKE" those toys outside the gate ready to be played with. He had the wisdom to make up their existence in order to get the kids out of the burning house.

Image


I don't even like the Lotus Sutra, but I will say that you're abusing it. He didn't make up their existence. :quote: "Upaya" is for demagogues and teachers. It's used to help them see the truth, not to obscure it. It's the way fiction illustrates the truth through cleverly placed lies. It's not real, but it tells a greater truth about existence. It's meant to illustrate the Buddha's use of simile and metaphor. The metaphor is not literal, but it's used to illustrate a higher truth.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:16 pm

Viscid wrote:If there is no end to suffering without The Buddha, then why and how did The Buddha himself come to that end without a Buddha previous to him for a guide?


The reason the Buddha is revered is because he discovered Dhamma without having a Buddha there to point the way.

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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Annapurna » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:14 pm

Viscid wrote:
Annapurna wrote:No, Viscid, I did not miss that.

I even explained to you why that is not a lie.


He also said:

For example, things like these goat-carts, deer-carts and ox-carts are outside the gate.

Things LIKE those.

He did not specify.


Okay, but, there weren't things even "LIKE" those toys outside the gate ready to be played with. He had the wisdom to make up their existence in order to get the kids out of the burning house.


No, he didn't have to make up their existance. There were toys "outside the gate. He did not specify: Toys ready to play with.

Viscid, right speech can be a great art.

By remaining vague, he was able to speak a truth in such a general way, the kids could jump to the conclusion, that these toys are ready to play with, but he did not say they are ready to play with just outside the gate.

He only said: They are outside the gate, toys like that.

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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Annapurna » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:24 pm

Viscid wrote:If there is no end to suffering without The Buddha, then why and how did The Buddha himself come to that end without a Buddha previous to him for a guide?



There are three types of buddhas or enlightened ones. One is an Arahant who teaches others; another is a silent buddha who attains enlightenment but does not teach, but presumably can still send his or her “rays” of metta - loving kindness to the world. The third type of buddha is a samma-sam-buddha, which is a special buddha which comes around only once every 5,000 to 15,000 years or even longer (sometimes one billion years or more while a world system is re-evolving) to teach the Dhamma when the Dhamma has died out from the world. This “savior” type of buddha is who the historical Buddha was.


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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Viscid » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:45 pm

Annapurna wrote:He only said: They are outside the gate, toys like that.

:anjali:


Well I assure you those kids would be like
Image


Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Viscid wrote:If there is no end to suffering without The Buddha, then why and how did The Buddha himself come to that end without a Buddha previous to him for a guide?


The reason the Buddha is revered is because he discovered Dhamma without having a Buddha there to point the way.

Spiny


Right. My argument was that the Dhamma is discoverable with or without the teachings of a known historical Buddha, suggesting that it exists independent of the Buddha.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Annapurna » Thu Dec 23, 2010 7:36 pm

I thought your point was that the Buddha could be an invention.... :thinking: :shrug:

Of course "the Dhamma" can be discovered by persons without knowing the teachings of the Buddha, given, they have the intelligence and insight.

Or how do you think the Buddha got enlightened?
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Viscid » Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:14 pm

Annapurna wrote:I thought your point was that the Buddha could be an invention.... :thinking: :shrug:

Of course "the Dhamma" can be discovered by persons without knowing the teachings of the Buddha, given, they have the intelligence and insight.

Or how do you think the Buddha got enlightened?


I am a skeptic, so I entertain the possibility that the Buddha could have been an invention. I do not suggest that he didn't exist, because I have no evidence to support such a claim. I believe Buddhism does not necessarily require absolute faith in the historical existence of The Buddha in order to practice.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:42 pm

Viscid wrote:I am a skeptic, so I entertain the possibility that the Buddha could have been an invention.


My question, is on what grounds?

I do not suggest that he didn't exist, because I have no evidence to support such a claim.


Of course not, because such claims are based on silliness. As I said, what would be enough? By your definitions of evidence, we have no proof Plato, Ceasar, Copernicus, etc. exists, but I somehow doubt you question their existence. Just important religious figures out of a mild aversion to the idea of having faith. Had a bad experience with religion?

I believe Buddhism does not necessarily require absolute faith in the historical existence of The Buddha in order to practice.


Of course not, but that is not because the historical Buddha isn't important. It's because having absolute faith in anything is dangerous clinging. If you don't believe A historical Buddha existed at all, or that their claims of freedom from suffering was a dubious invention, then ultimately you don't believe in the efficacy of the teachings. However if you, yourself, bear witness to the efficacy of the teachings, and there's evidence of the physical presence of the Buddha in literal form, in physical presence by the shadow impression of him upon the world, in physical presence by consistancies between different doctrinal references. There's no much more you can ask for. What else would you ask for as proof?
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby son of dhamma » Sat Dec 25, 2010 5:54 am

KonstantKarma wrote:... it seems to me, the Buddha is not the core of the teaching, it's the Buddhadhamma...


"Those who see the Dhamma see me, and those who see me see the Dhamma."
I think that this statement really sums what the Buddha means in Buddhadhamma. The same thing. It isn't an important question whether he existed or not, I think. What is more pertinent as far as the Buddhadhamma is concerned (which is the point of my life, anyway), is that the personality we all know as the Buddha is equal to and interchangeable with the Buddhadhamma. This is exemplified by his Full Enlightenment--being Fully Enlightened, he was indeed the Dhamma. And because the Buddhadhamma is the ultimate reality, the absolute law, the truth of infinite width, length, height, expanding endless in all dimensions, the personality that we know of the Buddha therefore does exist. Furthermore, how could it ever not exist?
I think that this is an essential concept of Buddhism. The Buddha was the Buddhadhamma, he embodied everything that it was, the clearest expression of it, a Fully Enlightened being.
The Thai saying comes to my mind, "the Buddha walks with every man."

Post Script: I'd like to add a poem.

_________________The Path of the Noble One.

Sometimes no Buddhas arise in the world.
Sometimes they do.
When it happens, it is for the welfare
And happiness, of men,
Out of compassion for all creatures.

For a long, long time
He has been working to become a Buddha.
He met other Buddhas along the way. And,
After his long striving he attains his final life, yet
Not without showing everyone else how to get there.


with metta
Sometimes no Buddhas arise in the world. Sometimes they do. When it happens, it is for the welfare and happiness of men, out of compassion for all creatures. For a long, long time he has been working to become a Buddha. He met other Buddhas along the way. And after his long striving he attains his final life, yet not without showing everyone else how to get there.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby nobody12345 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:46 am

I agree with Blackbird's post that it's of the utmost importance.
I don't think it's true Buddhism when you don't trust the supreme teacher (the Buddha) and his enlightenment that was the most significant thing ever happened in our own aeon.
I don't think it's true Buddhism when you don't trust Kamma, reincarnation, and many other not so popular concepts in modern society.
A trainee's job is master the teaching of the supreme teacher, not to modify the essential parts of the teaching in order to make it more palatable to oneself.
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