How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:26 pm

Actually they wouldn't EXIST without these people.



Wouldnt special relativity "exist" without Einstein


Just like there is Dhamma without a Buddha
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby BlackBird » Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:33 pm

clw_uk wrote:Just like there is Dhamma without a Buddha


But it takes a Buddha to (re)discover it. So without the Buddha, there can be no Sasana, no teaching, and no enlightenment save for a handful of private Buddhas.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:10 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Actually they wouldn't EXIST without these people.



Wouldnt special relativity "exist" without Einstein?


Just like there is Dhamma without a Buddha


Not really, let's put it this way. Do you think that the disembodied voice of Einstein existed having no matter, no energy, existed preceding the beginning of the Earth, before the beginning of the sun and the stars were formed, before the primal generation of anything, and these laws were sitting there in the middle of nowhere billions of years ago before he was even born and that magically he discovered those words? They were always there, even when they applied to nothing? Gradually the world came into being and then those words and axioms applied to it? That in fact, those words themselves applied to it? Those words themselves are what formed the world? NONSENSE. Logic exists in the mind, numbers exist in the mind, words exist in the mind, and our minds only exist as a result of ignorance, conditioned by ignorance. Without Buddha having unconditioned this ignorance then he too was ignorant. Without the Buddha there is no Dharma at all, in the same way if Einstein didn't exist, special relativity wouldn't exist either.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:31 pm

Without the Buddha there is no Dharma at all, in the same way if Einstein didn't exist, special relativity wouldn't exist either.



The Dhamma, or way it is, exists. The Buddha was one who awakened to it, he didnt create it


The Buddha taught that these truths exist even if there is no one who knows them


Special relativity describes a process of nature (from what I understand). Einstein didnt create "it", he just worked it out



Likewise gravity exists even if there is no one living to observe and work it out
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:37 pm

But it takes a Buddha to (re)discover it. So without the Buddha, there can be no Sasana, no teaching, and no enlightenment save for a handful of private Buddhas.



Well for me it doesnt matter if it is one person or several, the teachings work thats all that matters


Personally I would say that there was one man who formulated what we have, however if it was somehow proved that this wasnt the case it wouldnt change my practice at all
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:55 pm

clw_uk wrote:The Dhamma, or way it is, exists. The Buddha was one who awakened to it, he didnt create it


So how does it "exist"? It has no form, no perception, no sensation, it has no consciousness, it has no emotion. It has all marks of non-existence. If you want to say "the Dharma exists without self" you're admitting that the Dharma's "existence" depends on someone's ability to discover it. It depends on A Buddha. Such a condition is inescapable.

The Buddha taught that these truths exist even if there is no one who knows them


And how then do they exist, if no one knows them?

Special relativity describes a process of nature (from what I understand). Einstein didnt create "it", he just worked it out


Worked it out? Not at all, he created it to describe what he observed.

Likewise gravity exists even if there is no one living to observe and work it out


We don't know that. We don't even know what gravity is! Physicists have been baffled by gravity so that they had to fall onto different theories about it. Special Relativity, Newtonian Physics, General Relativity, Quantum loop, Quantum Gravity, etc. We don't know what gravity is!
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Individual » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:14 pm

Gautama did not teach either Buddha or Buddhism. Gautama taught bodhi.

Buddha is a form of atta (self) and Buddhism is papanca (conceptual proliferation). Words like Buddha and Buddhism are conventional expressions. In reality, there are no Buddhas because there is no self, and Buddhism itself is a hindrance, because it arises from sankharas and all sankharas are impermanent.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:23 pm

Individual wrote:Gautama did not teach either Buddha or Buddhism. Gautama taught bodhi.

Buddha is a form of atta (self) and Buddhism is papanca (conceptual proliferation). Words like Buddha and Buddhism are conventional expressions. In reality, there are no Buddhas because there is no self, and Buddhism itself is a hindrance, because it arises from sankharas and all sankharas are impermanent.
Said he, spouting confused conceptual poliferation.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby KonstantKarma » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:24 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Viscid wrote:Is the Buddha required, or is the Dhamma and Sangha sufficient?


While I take refuge in all three jewels, I think for me the Dhamma is of primary significance when it comes to daily practice. But the Dhamma must have come from somewhere, and my assumption is that it was the historical Buddha.

Spiny


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People get very attached to the window that shows the view outside, when in reality, it's the view outside that matters. Any window will do.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Aloka » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:41 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Individual wrote:Gautama did not teach either Buddha or Buddhism. Gautama taught bodhi.

Buddha is a form of atta (self) and Buddhism is papanca (conceptual proliferation). Words like Buddha and Buddhism are conventional expressions. In reality, there are no Buddhas because there is no self, and Buddhism itself is a hindrance, because it arises from sankharas and all sankharas are impermanent.
Said he, spouting confused conceptual poliferation.



I must confess I'm finding this thread (and its title) pretty confusing in general! :rolleye:
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:49 pm

Aloka wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Individual wrote:Gautama did not teach either Buddha or Buddhism. Gautama taught bodhi.

Buddha is a form of atta (self) and Buddhism is papanca (conceptual proliferation). Words like Buddha and Buddhism are conventional expressions. In reality, there are no Buddhas because there is no self, and Buddhism itself is a hindrance, because it arises from sankharas and all sankharas are impermanent.
Said he, spouting confused conceptual poliferation.



I must confess I'm finding this thread (and its title) pretty confusing in general! :rolleye:
Doesn't help when we get this bloated supposedly profound Dhamma speak.
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: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Anicca » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:51 pm

Viscid wrote:How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?
He is the namesake - I'd say pretty important.

Viscid wrote:To what degree is belief in the historical existence of The Buddha necessary?
To quote the Buddha regarding the existence (historical or otherwise) of the Buddha:
... you can't pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality ...
SN 22.86 Anuradha Sutta:

Utilising the teachings for an understanding, a skillful practice and an application in daily life (each moment if you will) is the only requirement for me.

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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby KonstantKarma » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:15 pm

Thanks Anicca - I do have a hard time seeing the Buddha standing on a platform shouting "Me! Me! Look at me! Adore me! Me me me!"

As long as there are buddhas and buddhists and the like who achieve results from the dhamma the exact identity of the teacher of the teachings is not all that necessary. Interesting and helpful of course but it's like a recipe... I don't know who figured out mixing flour with eggs and milk could make a cake - no idea whatsoever! - but I reap the benefits of good cake.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby BlackBird » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:27 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Individual wrote:Gautama did not teach either Buddha or Buddhism. Gautama taught bodhi.

Buddha is a form of atta (self) and Buddhism is papanca (conceptual proliferation). Words like Buddha and Buddhism are conventional expressions. In reality, there are no Buddhas because there is no self, and Buddhism itself is a hindrance, because it arises from sankharas and all sankharas are impermanent.
Said he, spouting confused conceptual poliferation.


Goodness it makes for good patience training.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:29 pm

The point is that without the Buddha's teachings the "Dharma" as in Buddha's teachings are gone from this world, and will have to be rediscovered by another Buddha, ad infinitum. If we don't have a Buddha we'll have to either discover the path by ourselves with no existing example and die before being able to teach it(Pratyekabuddha), or we would be able to teach it (Samyaksambuddha). We have the Dharma available, and so we can become disciples of the Buddha, and become Arahant. For that we are lucky.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby KonstantKarma » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:36 pm

I think the question raised here in the OP is how much do we need to cling to the notion of the historical Buddha to appreciate the path? How much is it okay to revere him as the teacher and when do we reach the point that we have to let the poor dead man rest?
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:43 pm

KonstantKarma wrote:I think the question raised here in the OP is how much do we need to cling to the notion of the historical Buddha to appreciate the path? How much is it okay to revere him as the teacher and when do we reach the point that we have to let the poor dead man rest?


He is dead. There is nothing to cling to. That doesn't mean keeping the teachings alive is keeping him alive. You think that by revering the teacher after his death somehow rouses him?

That's silly. We honor him because he gave us the teachings and we are his disciples.
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby BlackBird » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:49 pm

clw_uk wrote:however if it was somehow proved that this wasnt the case it wouldnt change my practice at all


The thing is, if several people got together and ascribed the Dhamma to one person, invented this character called the Buddha, then they told a pretty big lie. If a practice founded upon truth is contradicted by it's inception then it doesn't give it much credibility, the Buddha has explicitly stated that the Dhamma is free of patchwork, i.e. it doesn't contradict itself [1]. According to the Buddha, an Arahant is incapable of distorting the truth[2], as such, if several people did discover the Dhamma and ascribe it to one person, then they couldn't have been enlightened in the sense that is described by the Buddha.

Therefore either:
A) The Buddha was a real, fully enlightened being who discovered the truth in all things.
B) A bunch of guys made the whole thing up and there is no such thing as the awakening that is presented to us in the Suttas.

It might be said that it doesn't matter because the results that one experiences in the here are benefit enough to warrant the effort of practice, but tell me - Does one undertake a long drive on the motorway simply for the pleasure of the drive?
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby KonstantKarma » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:52 pm

Wizard in the Forest wrote:
KonstantKarma wrote:I think the question raised here in the OP is how much do we need to cling to the notion of the historical Buddha to appreciate the path? How much is it okay to revere him as the teacher and when do we reach the point that we have to let the poor dead man rest?


He is dead. There is nothing to cling to. That doesn't mean keeping the teachings alive is keeping him alive. You think that by revering the teacher after his death somehow rouses him?

That's silly. We honor him because he gave us the teachings and we are his disciples.


Honoring is fine. It's needing him to exist that's potentially crossing the line.

I personally believe the historical buddha existed and assume give-or-take his teachings were basically preserved. However, if scientific undeniable proof came out to the world that there was no Siddhartha Gautama - ever - and what is known as the suttas were written by a cluster of spiritual seekers that invented Buddha as a symbolic spokesperson, like other mythology, how would people feel?
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Re: How important is The Buddha to Buddhism?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:40 am

Viscid wrote:To what degree is belief in the historical existence of The Buddha necessary?

To me, extremely important to having faith, and taking refuge, in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha.

If the awakened Buddha and Aryian Sangha is just a story, the whole edifice would be suspect, as has already been pointed out.

:anjali:
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