Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

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Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby Stephen K » Fri May 20, 2011 4:18 pm

I sincerely hope this question is not inappropriate (if it is, the mods are free to delete the thread). But here goes:


Can followers of the Mahayana tradition really attain Buddhahood, according to the Theravada?
With metta,
Upāsaka Sumana
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Re: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri May 20, 2011 4:44 pm

Wherever the Four Noble Truths are taught and practiced there can be the attainment of Nibbāna.

“And what, monks, have I taught? This is dukkha, monks, this I have taught; this is the arising of dukkha, monks, this I have taught; this is the extinction of dukkha, monks, this I have taught; this is the way of progress leading to the extinction of dukkha, monks, this I have taught.”

‘‘Kiñca, bhikkhave, mayā akkhātaṃ? ‘Idaṃ dukkha’nti, bhikkhave, mayā akkhātaṃ, ‘ayaṃ dukkhasamudayo’ti mayā akkhātaṃ, ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodho’ti mayā akkhātaṃ, ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodhagāminī paṭipadā’ti mayā akkhātaṃ’’.

– SN. 5.56:31

“Both in the past and present I have proclaimed only dukkha and the cessation of dukkha.”

“Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ.”

– MN. 22
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby ground » Fri May 20, 2011 6:15 pm

Stefan wrote:Can followers of the Mahayana tradition really attain Buddhahood, according to the Theravada?


If you want to assess a system of learning, belief and practice you have to do it on the system's own grounds. Otherwise you are only assessing your own fantasy.

Kind regards
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Re: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby tiltbillings » Fri May 20, 2011 6:52 pm

Stefan wrote:I sincerely hope this question is not inappropriate (if it is, the mods are free to delete the thread). But here goes:


Can followers of the Mahayana tradition really attain Buddhahood, according to the Theravada?
Depends upon what you mean here. Can following the Mahayana bring one to nibbana, bodhi, being awake (buddha)? Sure. Does the bodhisattva path, constructed centuries and centuries after the death of Buddha bring one to full self awakeing, sammasambuddha? Despite however inspiring the notion is and that it can move a person to seriously practice the Dhamma, probably not, given that it is not something taught by the Buddha, and it postulates a Buddha that is essentially a god.
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: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby BlackBird » Sat May 21, 2011 12:55 am

Depends what you mean by true Buddhahood. The Mahayana have a radically different conception of what a Buddha is compared to the Theravadin conception and then again doctrine is widely variegated between different sects with each newer historical sect trying to trump the former. So if you mean Buddhahood from the Theravadin perspective then no, they believe in all sorts of funny things not taught by the Buddha of the Suttas.
"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: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat May 21, 2011 4:05 am

Since this is true:

ancientbuddhism wrote:Wherever the Four Noble Truths are taught and practiced there can be the attainment of Nibbāna.


and since the meditation practices are very similar, it would appear that a practitioner of either Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana could reach Nibbana / enlightenment.

But a related question might be: what if a Mahayana practitioner reaches enlightenment through their practice and for the sake of this argument let's say that Theravada got it "right". Would the Mahayana practitioner become a Theravadin or at least teach from the Theravada perspective / doctrine?

I would think so (and also vice versa).

(I understand about the "leaving the raft at the other shore" but am referring to the teaching methods, techniques, etc.)
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Re: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 21, 2011 6:08 am

Hi David,

You mean a variation on Rowan Atkinson welcoming people to Hell?
http://www.epicure.demon.co.uk/devilswelcome.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFGrQMD6Uqc
Old Nick wrote:And finally, Christians. Christians? Ah, yes, I'm sorry but I'm afraid the Jews were right. If you would come down here, that would be really fine.

Hmm, now which is Theravada and which is Mahayana.... :thinking:
And does it matter?

:anjali:
Mike
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Re: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby Sambodhi in Oz » Sat May 21, 2011 12:30 pm

Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood ? Well NO, no Mahayanist can achive Buddhahood and only so for one reason the 'ism' shall need to be dropped much before Buddhahood.

Metta

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Re: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby icyteru » Fri May 27, 2011 4:44 pm

maybe no if they think: i want to become bodhisatva, i don't want to become arahat / savaka buddha.
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Re: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby Kare » Fri May 27, 2011 10:42 pm

Probably. I think all human beings have the capacity for awakening. But the Mahayanists have to get rid of a lot of unnecessary baggage first, so they have chosen a very long detour ...
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Re: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby Goofaholix » Sat May 28, 2011 12:08 am

As I understand it the Theravadin definition of a Buddha is someone who obtained awakening him/herself without a teacher to explain how, so by that definition no Buddhist can become a Buddha only non-Buddhists can.

I'm not sure if it's possible by the Mahayana definition either, surely all other sentient beings would need to be liberated first, a tall order.

Of course Mahayanists can reach Nibbana and become arahants just like anyone else.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby Dan74 » Sat May 28, 2011 5:27 am

Coming across some posts, one wonders what strange creature these Mahayanists must be and whether they belong to a similar make-believe school like Hinayanists?

In particular, a learned guy like Kare, should know better than make blanket statements like above.
_/|\_
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Re: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 28, 2011 6:16 am

Dan74 wrote:Coming across some posts, one wonders what strange creature these Mahayanists must be and whether they belong to a similar make-believe school like Hinayanists?

In particular, a learned guy like Kare, should know better than make blanket statements like above.
Kare's comment is tenable.
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: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby Akuma » Sat May 28, 2011 6:50 am

As Williams pointed out so clearly in his book Buddhist Thought we have a unhealthy idea of a schism between Mahayana and Theravada that seems to stem partially from our western religious ideas influenced by Christianity. He writes

P. Williams wrote:Mahayana is not as such an institutional identity. Rather, it is an inner motivation and vision, and this inner vision can be found in anyone regardless of their institutional position. Thus, of course, there could in theory be Theravada Mahayanists. If that sounds strange it does nothing more than indicate how conditioned we have become to think of the Buddhist world as divided into two schools (or sects) on the model of Roman Catholic and Protestant, resulting from some supposed doctrinal schism.


So the answer to the question posted by the OP is - taken for granted that Buddhahood exists and is achievable - that only Mahayanis can achieve Buddhahood because only Mahayanis have the intention to do so. This includes Mahayana-Theravadins.
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Re: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 28, 2011 7:02 am

Akuma wrote:As Williams pointed out so clearly in his book Buddhist Thought we have a unhealthy idea of a schism between Mahayana and Theravada that seems to stem partially from our western religious ideas influenced by Christianity. He writes

P. Williams wrote:Mahayana is not as such an institutional identity. Rather, it is an inner motivation and vision, and this inner vision can be found in anyone regardless of their institutional position. Thus, of course, there could in theory be Theravada Mahayanists. If that sounds strange it does nothing more than indicate how conditioned we have become to think of the Buddhist world as divided into two schools (or sects) on the model of Roman Catholic and Protestant, resulting from some supposed doctrinal schism.


So the answer to the question posted by the OP is - taken for granted that Buddhahood exists and is achievable - that only Mahayanis can achieve Buddhahood because only Mahayanis have the intention to do so. This includes Mahayana-Theravadins.
Assuming, however, that the Mahayana version of things is the way things actually are.
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: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby PeterB » Sat May 28, 2011 8:23 am

Akuma wrote:As Williams pointed out so clearly in his book Buddhist Thought we have a unhealthy idea of a schism between Mahayana and Theravada that seems to stem partially from our western religious ideas influenced by Christianity. He writes

P. Williams wrote:Mahayana is not as such an institutional identity. Rather, it is an inner motivation and vision, and this inner vision can be found in anyone regardless of their institutional position. Thus, of course, there could in theory be Theravada Mahayanists. If that sounds strange it does nothing more than indicate how conditioned we have become to think of the Buddhist world as divided into two schools (or sects) on the model of Roman Catholic and Protestant, resulting from some supposed doctrinal schism.


So the answer to the question posted by the OP is - taken for granted that Buddhahood exists and is achievable - that only Mahayanis can achieve Buddhahood because only Mahayanis have the intention to do so. This includes Mahayana-Theravadins.

This view accords nicely with the Mahayana Subsumist position which simply subsumes the Theravada into the Mahayana.It is the default Mahayana position, Williams statement of that position is remarkable only in its frankness. It is the peace of the grave.
There is in fact a persuasive argument that says that it is the Subsumist position that shows the influence of Christianity...If protestantism defines itself by its resistance to various Catholic doctrines...and is therefore a dysfunctional catholicism, then the Theravada according to this parallel argument is an incomplete Mahayana.
A definition of Theravada which does fundamental violence to the Theravadas own self identity.
This is not ecumenicism, this is cultural imperialism.
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Re: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby PeterB » Sat May 28, 2011 9:04 am

Stefan wrote:I sincerely hope this question is not inappropriate (if it is, the mods are free to delete the thread). But here goes:


Can followers of the Mahayana tradition really attain Buddhahood, according to the Theravada?



This is the OP, which I have not addressed, but thought it worth bumping.
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Re: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby Akuma » Sat May 28, 2011 9:58 am

Peter wrote:This view accords nicely with the Mahayana Subsumist position which simply subsumes the Theravada into the Mahayana.


An intention cant hold a position.
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Re: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby Dan74 » Sat May 28, 2011 10:01 am

Kare wrote:Probably. I think all human beings have the capacity for awakening. But the Mahayanists have to get rid of a lot of unnecessary baggage first, so they have chosen a very long detour ...


Tilt and Kare I am sure know that blanket statements about "their long detours" is at best applicable to only a fraction of people practicing Mahayana and at worst a gross misunderstanding.

As it was stated - painting all with the same sloppy brush is unbecoming of a scholar, I think.
_/|\_
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Re: Can Mahayanists achieve true Buddhahood

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 28, 2011 10:18 am

Dan74 wrote:
Kare wrote:Probably. I think all human beings have the capacity for awakening. But the Mahayanists have to get rid of a lot of unnecessary baggage first, so they have chosen a very long detour ...


Tilt and Kare I am sure know that blanket statements about "their long detours" is at best applicable to only a fraction of people practicing Mahayana and at worst a gross misunderstanding.

As it was stated - painting all with the same sloppy brush is unbecoming of a scholar, I think.
So, how would you answer the OP?:

Can followers of the Mahayana tradition really attain Buddhahood, according to the Theravada?
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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