Recently I have been thinking a little bit about buddhism. It looks much logical for me than religions which say that we've got one life and then what awaits for us is eternal hell or heaven. I cannot agree that our salvation must be based on faith in this or other God. However what I can fully agree with in christianity is the ideal of unconditioned love, the wish to help others avoid suffering and bring true happiness and so on.
This is why I was impressed and moved by mahayana teachings. But later, after reading more about buddhism, I came to conclusion that I cannot easily agree with those sacred texts of mahayana. They have been compiled many centuries after teachings of Sakyamuni and they look like some kind of later invention. I cannot agree with the fact that only beings in man's form are allowed to pure land of Buddha Amitabha. Those all teachings about three kayas of the Buddha also look very suspicious for me.
That's the reason why I've become interested in Pali canon Tipitaka. But then the other surprise came. For me it looks like it is all the time about getting rid of desires for sensual pleasures, becoming and non-becoming, about calming the mind, concentration, moral conduct (i.e. not to lie, steal, kill) but there is nothing about active help for the others. It looks very important for me and that's rather difficult (even if dependent arising and noble truths look logical for me) to accept that this kind of selfish, self-focused (even if there is no permanent self) spiritual growth is the real perfectness.
But again, it looks for me like mahayana is later invention, and not the teachings of Buddha. His teachings were rational, logical and those mystical traditions of e.g. Tibetan buddhism are full of mythical lifestories of bodhisattva and also not realiable stories of the previous lifes of Buddha. In other words, I feel lack of something important in buddhism based only on Tipitaka (which looks like original teachings of Buddha), I don't find mahayana teachings convincing and again, I cannot find better explanations of the existence than those given by Buddha in teachings about dependent arising.
So I have tried to find if it is possible to become a bodhisattva, according to Pali canon. By making researches I have found that there were some kings, if I remember properly, from Sri Lanka, who have made the vows that they will become fully enlightened Buddhas. I have also found that both Theravada and Mahayana agree that ideal of bodhisattva which leads to the state of samyaksambuddha is the greatest. And I also know that bodhisatta (instead of bodhisattva) is the term used in Tipitaka to speak about person on the way to buddhahood.
I have found some statement by Ven. Dr. W. Rahula which makes me confused: " But only a Buddha achieves the complete liberation from all the obstructions to the knowable, i.e., obstructions to knowledge (Jneyyavaranavisuddhi), not the Sravakas and Pratyekabuddhas" (http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha126.htm
). Why is it so if nirvana is blowing out? The fire cannot be more blowed out than completely. There is no higher spiritual gain than parinirvana. However, mahayana point of view is somehow different if it says about those three kayas. For example some Buddhas like Amitabha have spent much time on accumulating the merit (if I understand it properly) in order to create those great purelands.
The other thing which is difficult for me to agree is that from Metta Sutta it looks like maitri is not so valuable. It says that a person developing the maitri (which means wishing the happiness for the others) will be reborn in Brahma world. But developing the wish for all the beings to be happy may also result in active help to beings (like Mother Teresa from Kalkula or others). So the kamma result is unfair (or, what is more probable, I don't understand it properly :p) - a person wants to help to beings but instead of having more abilities to help to the others in next life, he or she is reborn in the Brahma world. Then he or she waits there for a long time in pleasure, forgetting about spiritual growth, then is reborn on earth, hell or other place and the story begins again. In other words, maitri (metta) is useless to help to other beings. And metta is not needed at all to attain nirvana, because it is about blowing out the aggregates, kamma and so on, it doesn't have anyting in common with things like e.g. love in christianity.
What I don't quite understand why I should try to reach nirvana. I mean, I know that desire to reach nirvana is the other result of being involved in becoming, but that's not what I want to mention now. As far as I understand, nirvana is about end of suffering. But it is almost always explained in negative way. It is told that there is no suffering in nirvana. But is there any happiness in this experience? And also, the idea of heaven in christianity is much more inspiring. I don't mean that part about being unified in God, because I don't believe in such a God as in christianity, who is fully omnipotent, fully compassionate and creator of the universe at the same time. Dependent arising looks much more logical to me. However what I mean is that in heaven in christianity there is communion between all the saints. I think that wouldn't be so good to attain nirvana and then to be unable to help to the other beings. And why is this nirvana so great if there is no need for love at all to attain it? Only some kind of lack of craving and this kind of development, rather on getting rid of negative features, klesas, then on developing positive, immesurable qualities (which, again, lead only to useless Brahma world).
Please, clarify me the above things. I'm totally confused by this whole buddhism.