Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby BlackBird » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:23 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
BlackBird wrote:
alan wrote:Nothing I've read in the Suttas says anything about Boddisattvas.


It's remarkably absent.

Are you suggesting that prior to his awakening the Buddha wasn't a bodhisattva and the suttas where he refers to himself prior to his awakening as a bodhisattva are fictions?


Why would I say that... Let's not assume the worst and jump to conclusions. I'm saying the Buddha was entirely silent on the path of the Bodhisattva, except when used to illustrate his own struggles or provide an example for some Dhamma lesson for the benefit of the student. Simple put, if you give the Suttas precedence: A reasonable conclusion is that the Buddha would have his student take the path to Arahantship.
:anjali:
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby BlackBird » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:56 pm

It's actually a choice whether we get offended or not. This may come as a surprise, considering our propensity to blame others for our decision to take offense. It's quite easy to take up a view that things should be THIS way, and anybody who violates my personal wish has offended me and deserves to feel bad about it! But people and situations will always violate our wishes of how things should be, then we have a choice - Equanimity or frustration.

:)
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:06 pm

BlackBird wrote:Why would I say that... Let's not assume the worst and jump to conclusions. I'm saying the Buddha was entirely silent on the path of the Bodhisattva, except when used to illustrate his own struggles or provide an example for some Dhamma lesson for the benefit of the student. Simple put, if you give the Suttas precedence: A reasonable conclusion is that the Buddha would have his student take the path to Arahantship.
:anjali:
Yes. The idea of path to Buddhahood developed after the death of the Buddha, taking the hagiographic material about the Buddha's life that was developed after the death of the Buddha as a major inspiration, and the sectarianized Mahayanists, (after the introduction of of the us-versus-them notion of hinayana) took the this path is a very different direction. But none of this was taught by the Buddha.
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: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Nyana » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:17 pm

BlackBird wrote:I'm saying the Buddha was entirely silent on the path of the Bodhisattva, except when used to illustrate his own struggles or provide an example for some Dhamma lesson for the benefit of the student.

Just asking your for clarification, that's all. And since the suttas do record the Buddha talking about his experiences as a bodhisattva, he wasn't "entirely silent" on the subject. These early sources were later expanded upon by people inspired by the example of the Buddha's life and hagiographic narratives.

BlackBird wrote:Simple put, if you give the Suttas precedence: A reasonable conclusion is that the Buddha would have his student take the path to Arahantship.

Of course. The bodhisattva path as a developed vehicle of practice postdates the suttas. No doubt it was developed to meet the needs of different groups of people at different times. And in some of the earliest textual remnants presenting the bodhisattvayāna as a unique vehicle we can clearly see a recurring desire to return to the ascetic path initiated by the śramaṇa Gautama Buddha.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby BlackBird » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:21 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:Of course. The bodhisattva path as a developed vehicle of practice postdates the suttas. No doubt it was developed to meet the needs of different groups of people at different times.


Needs or desires?
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:35 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
BlackBird wrote:I'm saying the Buddha was entirely silent on the path of the Bodhisattva, except when used to illustrate his own struggles or provide an example for some Dhamma lesson for the benefit of the student.

Just asking your for clarification, that's all. And since the suttas do record the Buddha talking about his experiences as a bodhisattva, he wasn't "entirely silent" on the subject. These early sources were later expanded upon by people inspired by the example of the Buddha's life and hagiographic narratives.
The point is, simply, that there was no bodhisattva path taught by the Buddha. And the early path derived from the early hagiography is considerably different from the later everyone-should-become-a-bodhisattva path taught by the Mahayana after the introduction of the idea of a hinayana path.
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: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Nyana » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:47 pm

BlackBird wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Of course. The bodhisattva path as a developed vehicle of practice postdates the suttas. No doubt it was developed to meet the needs of different groups of people at different times.


Needs or desires?

Could be a combination of both. Motivation for monastics as well as householders thinking of going forth to return to the ascetic practices, and also inspirational reminders for laypersons to support ascetic monastics in addition to the established monastic institutions. A few examples....

Samādhirāja Sūtra:

    There has been no buddha in the past, nor will there be in the future, who abides in the household and who so established has achieved this supreme, highest enlightenment.

Viśuddhaśraddhādārikāparipṛcchā Sūtra:

    [T]here are eight things by which a bodhisattva accomplishes the ascetic disciplines [dhutaguṇa] and always takes pleasure dwelling in the wilderness. What are the eight? (1) Having few desires; (2) Knowing satisfaction; (3) Fulfillment of the True Dharma; (4) Supporting oneself with what is meritorious; (5) Always upholding the four traditions of the spiritually ennobled [āryavaṃsa]; (6) Seeing the misery of saṃsāra, his mind is always disgusted and aloof; (7) He constantly observes [things as] impermanent, suffering, empty, and without self; (8) Having a deep faith that is unshakable, he does not fall into heterodox teachings. At that time the Blessed One again spoke these verses:

    Having few desires and knowing satisfaction, [the bodhisattva] does not abandon restraint. The manifold benefits of taking pleasure in the Dharma are what he nurtures as his riches. He finds enjoyment in always cultivating the traditions of the spiritually ennobled. When he sees the misery of saṃsāra, he generates thoughts of dread. For this reason he always takes pleasure in practicing the ascetic disciplines, alone, without companions, like the single horn of a rhinoceros. [Seeing all] compounded things as suffering and without self, he possesses gnosis and deep faith, abiding in true exertion.

    Seeing the Dharma for himself, he does not fall into heterodoxy. He always dwells in remote areas as praised by the Buddha. Purified, secluded, and without distress, [the bodhisattva] is without contention, cognizant of his own manifold shortcomings. Aloof from associations and divorced from flattery, [the bodhisattva] takes pleasure in dwelling in the wilderness.

Ratnarāśi Sūtra:

    The wilderness-dwelling monk, Kāśyapa, should make his bed and seat in a wilderness, an abode in the forest, and a border area. He should dwell in wilderness border regions such as those without thieves, herdsmen or shepherds, without snakes, without wild beasts and flocks of birds, with few flies and stinging insects, with little noise, with few sounds of commotion.

    If that [monk] is a dweller in that wilderness abode, he should bring about eight deliberations. What are the eight?

    (1)He should not be concerned about his body.
    (2)He should not be concerned about his life.
    (3)He should not be concerned about wealth or honors.
    (4)He should not be concerned about all garrulous associations with others.
    (5)He should undertake to die in a wilderness like an animal.
    (6)He should dwell in the wilderness making use of the advantages offered by the wilderness.
    (7)He should live with his livelihood in accord with the Teaching; he should not live wrongly.
    (8)He should live in accord with a livelihood free from worldly material possessions and defilements.

    He should dwell in a wilderness abode bringing about these eight deliberations.

Ugraparipṛcchā Sūtra:

    There has never been a bodhisattva who dwells in the household and who has awakened to unexcelled, perfect enlightenment. They all, moreover, having gone forth from the household, fixed their thoughts on the wilderness with a predilection toward the wilderness. Having gone to the wilderness, they awakened to unexcelled, perfect enlightenment. And [it is there that] they acquired the prerequisites [Skt. saṃbhāra] [for enlightenment; i.e., merit and gnosis].

And also from the same sutra:

    I should examine the matter as follows: “I came to the wilderness on account of being afraid of such frightening and terrifying things [as inauspicious rebirths, and so forth, as mentioned in a previous passage]. I cannot be freed from such frightening and terrifying things as these by living in the household, by living in company [with others], or by living without exerting myself, without applying myself diligently to yoga, or by thinking distractedly. All bodhisattvas mahāsattvas who appeared in the past were delivered from every fear by dwelling in the wilderness; in this way they obtained the fearlessness that is unexcelled, perfect enlightenment. All bodhisattvas mahāsattvas who will appear in the future will be delivered from every fear by dwelling in the wilderness; in this way they will obtain the fearlessness that is unexcelled, perfect enlightenment. All bodhisattvas mahāsattvas who appear in the present and who have obtained unexcelled, perfect enlightenment are delivered from every fear by dwelling in the wilderness; in this way they obtained the fearlessness that is unexcelled, perfect enlightenment. Therefore, I too, frightened and terrified here, and desiring to transcend every fear and attain the fearless state, should dwell in the wilderness.”

Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā Sūtra:

    May you dwell in crags, in the wilderness, and in caves, and abiding there, not exalt yourselves or vilify others. May you exhort yourselves continually, ever mindful that you turned away from millions of former buddhas. Abandon your craving for body and life; indifferent, apply yourself to the Dharma, generating ardent respect.
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:33 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:
BlackBird wrote:I'm saying the Buddha was entirely silent on the path of the Bodhisattva, except when used to illustrate his own struggles or provide an example for some Dhamma lesson for the benefit of the student.

Just asking your for clarification, that's all. And since the suttas do record the Buddha talking about his experiences as a bodhisattva, he wasn't "entirely silent" on the subject. These early sources were later expanded upon by people inspired by the example of the Buddha's life and hagiographic narratives.
The point is, simply, that there was no bodhisattva path taught by the Buddha. And the early path derived from the early hagiography is considerably different from the later everyone-should-become-a-bodhisattva path taught by the Mahayana after the introduction of the idea of a hinayana path.

Never mind the proliferation's and rationalisations..this cuts to the heart of the matter.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Nyana » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:57 am

tiltbillings wrote:The point is, simply, that there was no bodhisattva path taught by the Buddha.

If we're going to be precise, the Buddha didn't teach the Theravāda either. There have been a number of moves made by the Theravāda regarding such things as momentary supramundane path structure, separation of samatha & vipassanā into completely separate vehicles of development, theory of radical momentariness, buddha qualities, etc., etc., which have no basis in the discourses.
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:08 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The point is, simply, that there was no bodhisattva path taught by the Buddha.

If we're going to be precise, the Buddha didn't teach the Theravāda either.
You are not telling me anything I do not know.

There have been a number of moves made by the Theravāda regarding such things as momentary supramundane path structure, separation of samatha & vipassanā into completely separate vehicles of development, theory of radical momentariness, buddha qualities, etc., etc., which have no basis in the discourses.
And some of things are a problem and some are not, but as for the Mahayana . . . .
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: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Nyana » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:42 am

tiltbillings wrote:And some of things are a problem and some are not, but as for the Mahayana . . . .

Yeah, well, I'm not an advocate of all things Mahāyāna either. And I've witnessed the whole hīnayāna polemic from the inside there too, and the defensive posturing when it was brought to people's attention that I consider the hīnayāna label to be derogatory and unacceptable.
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:15 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:
BlackBird wrote:I'm saying the Buddha was entirely silent on the path of the Bodhisattva, except when used to illustrate his own struggles or provide an example for some Dhamma lesson for the benefit of the student.

Just asking your for clarification, that's all. And since the suttas do record the Buddha talking about his experiences as a bodhisattva, he wasn't "entirely silent" on the subject. These early sources were later expanded upon by people inspired by the example of the Buddha's life and hagiographic narratives.
The point is, simply, that there was no bodhisattva path taught by the Buddha. And the early path derived from the early hagiography is considerably different from the later everyone-should-become-a-bodhisattva path taught by the Mahayana after the introduction of the idea of a hinayana path.


I agree with Tilt on this. There is no 'everyone should become bodhisattvas' attitude. In fact it would be better if one in a million takes on this arduous course through samsara and does it properly.. (as those were the ratios one buddha vs the number of arahanths).

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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:46 am

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: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby parth » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:46 pm

Buddha never taught any ism(s) only Dhamma, even calling it Buddhism is wrong it curtails it and limits it as if it is meant only for people born in that sect / converts.
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby legolas » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:39 am

Taking the Theravada literature as a guide.....

1. The Buddha left a Bodhisatta path to be followed.
2. The Buddha was a Bodhisatta from the point he first decided to become a Buddha.
3. The Buddha spent aeons accumulating paramis.
4. The Buddha made vows in the presence of previous Buddhas.
5. The whole show was pre-determined.
6. A reasonable conclusion might be that the Bodhisatta path is the noblest and arhatship is of a lesser calling.

Only taking the suttas as a guide...........

1. The Buddha never taught a Bodhisatta path.
2. The Buddha never refers to himself as a Bodhisatta except in his last life.
3. The Buddha never makes reference to taking vows to be a Buddha.
4. The Buddha never mentions countless aeons of accumulating paramis.
5. The only Buddha that our Buddha mentions meeting is the previous Buddha, when our Buddha was dragged by the hair to meet him.
6. One reasonable conclusion might be that our Buddha met with the Dhamma - achieved a favourable rebirth - was born as a human being with chances of becoming a great monarch or achieving arhatship - right up to the last second it was touch and go whether he would be a silent Buddha or a teaching Buddha - nothing was pre-determined and there can only be a label of Bodhisatta given in retrospect and in relation to the last life. There is no Bodhisatta path only a Noble eightfold path, which can develop on extremely rare occassions into full Buddhahood.
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:00 am

legolas wrote:Taking the Theravada literature as a guide.....

1. The Buddha left a Bodhisatta path to be followed.
2. The Buddha was a Bodhisatta from the point he first decided to become a Buddha.
3. The Buddha spent aeons accumulating paramis.
4. The Buddha made vows in the presence of previous Buddhas.
5. The whole show was pre-determined.
6. A reasonable conclusion might be that the Bodhisatta path is the noblest and arhatship is of a lesser calling.
Cite some sources for this, particularly for item # 1. The Buddhavamsa and the Cariyapitaka, the primary sources of the Theravadin bodhisatta notion as a path of practice are not attributed to the Buddha that I have ever seen, Most everything else is found in the commentarial literature. Also, one must not assume that being a Theravadin bodhisatta is the same as the systemetized version of the Mahayana bodhisattva.
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: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Hanzze » Mon Dec 20, 2010 10:25 am

Last edited by Hanzze on Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby legolas » Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:01 am

tiltbillings wrote:
legolas wrote:Taking the Theravada literature as a guide.....

1. The Buddha left a Bodhisatta path to be followed.
2. The Buddha was a Bodhisatta from the point he first decided to become a Buddha.
3. The Buddha spent aeons accumulating paramis.
4. The Buddha made vows in the presence of previous Buddhas.
5. The whole show was pre-determined.
6. A reasonable conclusion might be that the Bodhisatta path is the noblest and arhatship is of a lesser calling.
Cite some sources for this, particularly for item # 1. The Buddhavamsa and the Cariyapitaka, the primary sources of the Theravadin bodhisatta notion as a path of practice are not attributed to the Buddha that I have ever seen, Most everything else is found in the commentarial literature. Also, one must not assume that being a Theravadin bodhisatta is the same as the systemetized version of the Mahayana bodhisattva.


Although the Buddhavamsa and the Cariyapitaka are not attributed to the Buddha, they are accepted by Theravadins and presumably they could not have appeared without the arising of the Buddha. By implication, within the Theravada tradition they can be attributed to the Buddha's Dhamma.
What is your interpretation of a Theravad bodhisatta?
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Hanzze » Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:22 am

A Treatise on the Paramis Boddhisatta in the time Buddha was Somedha.

_/\_
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Last edited by Hanzze on Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby dhammapal » Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:41 am

Hi,

Check out: Arahants, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas by Bhikkhu Bodhi

With metta / dhammapal.
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