Path to Buddhahood

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Path to Buddhahood

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:53 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The suttas, however, paint a bit of a different picture.

Your interpretation of the suttas may paint a bit of a different picture. If so, your interpretation differs from that of the ancient Theravāda tradition.
My look at the suttas is sound enough and in contrast to what you have posted, it neatly shows the difference between what the suttas say and what the Theravada tradition says, which is my only point. I am not saying "bad Theravada tradition." It is simply a matter of giving information and what one does with it is their choice.
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: Path to Buddhahood

Postby Nyana » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:45 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The suttas, however, paint a bit of a different picture.

Your interpretation of the suttas may paint a bit of a different picture. If so, your interpretation differs from that of the ancient Theravāda tradition.
My look at the suttas is sound enough and in contrast to what you have posted, it neatly shows the difference between what the suttas say and what the Theravada tradition says, which is my only point. I am not saying "bad Theravada tradition." It is simply a matter of giving information and what one does with it is their choice.

Your survey is selective, and doesn't take into account a number of sutta passages as well as various texts in the Khuddakanikāya. Regarding suttas, in the context of knowledge there is AN 4.24:

    Monks, whatever in the cosmos — with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives & brahmans royalty & common people — is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That do I know. Whatever in the cosmos — with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives & brahmans, their royalty & common people — is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That I directly know. That has been realized by the Tathagata, but in the Tathagata it has not been established.

And SN 56.31:

    [T]hose things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught].

And in the context of penetrating others' faculties, dispositions, and underlying tendencies, there is SN 6.1:

    Then the Blessed One, having understood Brahma's invitation, out of compassion for beings, surveyed the world with the eye of an Awakened One. As he did so, he saw beings with little dust in their eyes and those with much, those with keen faculties and those with dull, those with good attributes and those with bad, those easy to teach and those hard, some of them seeing disgrace and danger in the other world.

And in the context of physical qualities, MN 91:

    The report that has been spread about Master Gotama is true, sir, and not otherwise; and Master Gotama is one such as this and not otherwise. He possesses the thirty-two marks of a Great Man.

    Master Gotama sets his foot down squarely — this is a mark of a Great Man in Master Gotama. On the soles of his feet there are wheels with a thousand spokes and ribs and hubs all complete … He has projecting heels … He has long fingers and toes … His hands and feet are soft and tender … He has netted hands and feet … His feet are arched … He has legs like an antelope's … When he stands without stooping, the palms of both his hands touch and rub against his knees … His male organ is enclosed in a sheath … He is the colour of gold, his skin has a golden sheen … He is fine-skinned, and because of the fineness of his skin, dust and dirt do not stick on his body … His body-hairs grow singly, each body-hair growing alone in a hair socket … The tips of his body-hairs turn up; the up-turned body-hairs are blue-black, the colour of collyrium, curled and turned to the right … He has the straight limbs of a Brahma … He has seven convexities … He has the torso of a lion … The furrow between his shoulders is filled in … He has the spread of a banyan tree; the span of his arms equals the height of his body, and the height of his body equals the span of his arms … His neck and his shoulders are even … His taste is supremely acute … He is lion-jawed … He has forty teeth … His teeth are even … His teeth are without gaps … His teeth are quite white … He has a large tongue … He has a divine voice, like the call of the Karavika bird … His eyes are deep blue … He has the eyelashes of an ox … He has hair growing in the space between his eyebrows, which is white with the sheen of soft cotton … His head is shaped like a turban - this is a mark of a Great Man in Master Gotama. Master Gotama is endowed with these thirty-two marks of a Great Man.

These are just a few examples, without even taking into consideration passages from the Khuddakanikāya, etc.
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Re: Path to Buddhahood

Postby Nyana » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:54 pm

ccharles wrote:If one had already successfully made the aspiration to become a Buddha in the presence of a Buddha in a past life, how would one know? If one has not done that, is there a path one can take to eventually meet a Buddha in a future life, so he can then successfully make the aspiration?

The safe bet would be to keep practicing the perfections to the best of one's abilities. There are living Theravāda monks who are considered to be bodhisattas. For example, Ajahn Gavesako mentions having met Luang Phor Jahm in north-east Thailand in 2011:

    We stayed at the monastery of Luang Por Jahm nearby; he is 101 years old and a disciple of Luang Por Mun, he used to go wandering through the forests with him. He is also reputed to be a practising bodhisatta, cultivating the perfections (parami) in order to become the future Buddha no. 16, for which he apparently already received a prediction in a past life.

Here's a picture of Luang Phor Jahm blessing visitors:

Image
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Re: Path to Buddhahood

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:18 am

Ñāṇa wrote: . . .
Thanks for the quotes, but they do not at all challenge my postion in terms of the Buddha's bodhi and the arahant's bodhi as spelled out in the suttas.
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: Path to Buddhahood

Postby Tom » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:39 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
And SN 56.31:

    [T]hose things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught].


But if one follows the path of "that which he has taught", can they arrive at the direct knowledge of "that which he has not taught"?
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Re: Path to Buddhahood

Postby Tom » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:50 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
ccharles wrote:If one had already successfully made the aspiration to become a Buddha in the presence of a Buddha in a past life, how would one know? If one has not done that, is there a path one can take to eventually meet a Buddha in a future life, so he can then successfully make the aspiration?

The safe bet would be to keep practicing the perfections to the best of one's abilities. There are living Theravāda monks who are considered to be bodhisattas. For example, Ajahn Gavesako mentions having met Luang Phor Jahm in north-east Thailand in 2011:

    We stayed at the monastery of Luang Por Jahm nearby; he is 101 years old and a disciple of Luang Por Mun, he used to go wandering through the forests with him. He is also reputed to be a practising bodhisatta, cultivating the perfections (parami) in order to become the future Buddha no. 16, for which he apparently already received a prediction in a past life.


I can't find any information about Luang Por Jahm online, do you know where I could learn more about this man? Also, if I were to visit this man, do you know if he would be able to explain the bodhisatta path to me (in english :) )?
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Re: Path to Buddhahood

Postby Nyana » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:14 am

ccharles wrote:But if one follows the path of "that which he has taught", can they arrive at the direct knowledge of "that which he has not taught"?

He taught the perfections. As already mentioned, a good source is A Treatise on the Pāramīs. Another good source is the first chapter of A Manual of the Excellent Man by Ven. Ledi Sayādaw. The latter includes teachings on making a bodhisattva aspiration, etc. (pp. 13-21). Another example of the aspiration can be found in The Coming Buddha Ariya Metteyya:

    May I undertake the life of a bhikkhu in the dispensation and illumine that noble (institution), being the possessor of potency, mindful and well-versed in the Tipiṭaka. May he (i.e. Metteyya) predict (of me), “This one will be a Buddha in the future.” And may I offer gifts to the Buddhas who will come one after the other and (receive sure prediction) from them too. May I fare on in repeated births, give food and other things that are desired like a wish-conferring tree. May I fulfil all the perfections of morality, renunciation, wisdom, and so forth, and having attained the summit of the perfections, become an incomparable Buddha. May I preach the sweet Doctrine which brings bliss to all beings, liberating the whole world with its Devas from the bondage of repeated births. May I guide them to the most excellent, tranquil Nibbāna.

ccharles wrote:I can't find any information about Luang Por Jahm online, do you know where I could learn more about this man? Also, if I were to visit this man, do you know if he would be able to explain the bodhisatta path to me (in english :) )?

I don't know if Luang Phor Jahm teaches on this subject or not. You could PM Ajahn Gavesako to see if he has any more information.
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Re: Path to Buddhahood

Postby Hanzze » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:16 am

Dear Ccarles,

Maybe some explaining here in another forum are helpful: The Bodhisattva path in the teachings of the elders

How ever, the advice of Nana "The safe bet would be to keep practicing the perfections to the best of one's abilities." is the best way one can do, where ever he is without the mistake to build something up on speculation and it's very important to discover the own intentions which move to the will of becoming what ever the object might be (for the arahant as well as a Buddha the last final object is not to become anything at least, which has to go throught a noble desire). There is so many tanha (desire) hidden in motivations, one would not see if the mind is not trained yet and selfhonesty (better appamada) not jet established.

A good essay might be also: Freedom From Buddha Nature

Buddhist practice means to be mindful of the present step and not speculating about hills, brigdes, dangers... in the future. Importand is, to start to walk and the more one focus just on the next step the bigger is the capacity of range. People who discuss and waste time in philosophy do not reach anything, the just live in a world of ideas.

One is clear, the path to gain arahanthood (free of suffering, hunger and thirst) or a Buddha (free of suffering, hunger and thirst) is the same. To really help others, how ever, one must be free of greed, hated and delusion first by one self. Not knowing the path well jet, it is how ever good to follow the advices of one who has gone so fare, and those advices are still avalible to day.

The Arahant/Buddha/Bodhisattva discussion remembers often on children, but in fact does just reflect the same as any other struggle in the world. In actually struggle with each other they use to ague with there daddy or they daddies possession "MY daddy has a bigger car then your daddy".

The more one seriously pratice, the more things grow clear and what ever motivation might insire you, "transform" it into energy of serious and honest pratice like told by the wise. One can not fail if there is always appamada present.
Last edited by Hanzze on Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:18 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: Path to Buddhahood

Postby daverupa » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:16 am

Ñāṇa wrote:no historical precedent in the suttas


Well, one wonders:

SN 22.58 wrote:"So what difference, what distinction, what distinguishing factor is there between one rightly self-awakened and a monk discernment-released?"

"For us, lord, the teachings have the Blessed One as their root, their guide, & their arbitrator. It would be good if the Blessed One himself would explicate the meaning of this statement. Having heard it from the Blessed One, the monks will remember it."

"In that case, monks, listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "The Tathagata — the worthy one, the rightly self-awakened one — is the one who gives rise to the path (previously) unarisen, who engenders the path (previously) unengendered, who points out the path (previously) not pointed out. He knows the path, is expert in the path, is adept at the path. And his disciples now keep following the path and afterwards become endowed with the path.

"This is the difference, this the distinction, this the distinguishing between one rightly self-awakened and a monk discernment-released."
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Path to Buddhahood

Postby Nyana » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:35 am

daverupa wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:no historical precedent in the suttas


Well, one wonders:

The Blessed One said, "The Tathagata — the worthy one, the rightly self-awakened one — is the one who gives rise to the path (previously) unarisen, who engenders the path (previously) unengendered, who points out the path (previously) not pointed out. He knows the path, is expert in the path, is adept at the path. And his disciples now keep following the path and afterwards become endowed with the path.

"This is the difference, this the distinction, this the distinguishing between one rightly self-awakened and a monk discernment-released."

One can quite rightly infer from this passage, when taken in conjunction with the passages supplied here, that the knowledge and other aptitudes required to give rise to the path previously unarisen is necessarily more extensive than that required by a sāvaka to follow the path to the point of fruition once it has been disclosed and taught in detail. This is precisely what every Buddhist tradition has concluded from the content of the Nikāyas.
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Re: Path to Buddhahood

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:25 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: Path to Buddhahood

Postby daverupa » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:34 am

Ñāṇa wrote:One can quite rightly infer from this passage, when taken in conjunction with the passages supplied here, that the knowledge and other aptitudes required to give rise to the path previously unarisen is necessarily more extensive than that required by a sāvaka to follow the path to the point of fruition once it has been disclosed and taught in detail. This is precisely what every Buddhist tradition has concluded from the content of the Nikāyas.


That other knowledge, and those aptitudes, do not qualify bodhi. I can grant that they might be required on account of being the first, but it renders the same bodhi.

In any event, given that these things weren't taught, they are leaves in the trees, yes?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Path to Buddhahood

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:36 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
daverupa wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:no historical precedent in the suttas


Well, one wonders:

The Blessed One said, "The Tathagata — the worthy one, the rightly self-awakened one — is the one who gives rise to the path (previously) unarisen, who engenders the path (previously) unengendered, who points out the path (previously) not pointed out. He knows the path, is expert in the path, is adept at the path. And his disciples now keep following the path and afterwards become endowed with the path.

"This is the difference, this the distinction, this the distinguishing between one rightly self-awakened and a monk discernment-released."

One can quite rightly infer from this passage, when taken in conjunction with the passages supplied here, that the knowledge and other aptitudes required to give rise to the path previously unarisen is necessarily more extensive than that required by a sāvaka to follow the path to the point of fruition once it has been disclosed and taught in detail. This is precisely what every Buddhist tradition has concluded from the content of the Nikāyas.
I am certainly not disagreeing with what is required for the bodhisatta to become a buddha, one who has attained bodhi. The problem with the "here" is in the question of what is bodhi. The 32 marks aren't bodhi as described in the suttas, nor is omniscience. And the one thing we do see in the suttas is that what the Buddha attained in terms of bodhi is what the arahant attains. So, the question is: What is bodhi as defined by the suttas?
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: Path to Buddhahood

Postby Tom » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:11 am

Thank you all for your input. Do arahants obtain omniscience?
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Re: Path to Buddhahood

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:15 am

ccharles wrote:Thank you all for your input. Do arahants obtain omniscience?
It is not claimed of them in the suttas.



For your consideration: Was the Buddha Omniscient?
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: Path to Buddhahood

Postby Nyana » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:33 am

daverupa wrote:That other knowledge, and those aptitudes, do not qualify bodhi. I can grant that they might be required on account of being the first, but it renders the same bodhi.

Given that a buddha awakens to what has not been known before, it seems reasonable to infer that knowledge and other aptitudes do qualify awakening.

daverupa wrote:In any event, given that these things weren't taught, they are leaves in the trees, yes?

For a sāvaka disciple, yes.
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Re: Path to Buddhahood

Postby Nyana » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:35 am

tiltbillings wrote:The problem with the "here" is in the question of what is bodhi. The 32 marks aren't bodhi as described in the suttas, nor is omniscience. And the one thing we do see in the suttas is that what the Buddha attained in terms of bodhi is what the arahant attains. So, the question is: What is bodhi as defined by the suttas?

Already addressed: AN 4.24 implicitly accounts for the stage of omniscience (sabbaññutabhūmi). SN 6.1 implicitly accounts for the knowledge of degrees of maturity in the faculties of sentient beings (indriyaparopariyattañāṇa) and the knowledge of the dispositions and underlying tendencies of sentient beings (āsayānusayañāṇa).

Both explanations are straight out of the Theravāda commentaries on the suttas, and in addition to what was offered from the canonical Psm here, renders your opinion that, "The "enlightenment" -- bodhi -- of the arahant is no different from that of the Buddha," an example of modernist secular revisionism that has no precedent in the history of Theravāda Buddhism.
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Re: Path to Buddhahood

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:37 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
daverupa wrote:That other knowledge, and those aptitudes, do not qualify bodhi. I can grant that they might be required on account of being the first, but it renders the same bodhi.

Given that a buddha awakens to what has not been known before, it seems reasonable to infer that knowledge and other aptitudes do qualify awakening.
Except in the highly radical teachings of the suttas that does not seem to be the case at all.
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: Path to Buddhahood

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:53 am

Ñāṇa wrote:"The "enlightenment" -- bodhi -- of the arahant is no different from that of the Buddha," an example of modernist secular revisionism that has no precedent in the history of Theravāda Buddhism.
Suggesting that I am a modernist secular revisionist (if that is what you are doing, but hopefuly it isn't), as a way of trying to dismiss what I am saying, is quite meaningless. You would do better to directly counter my position by showing what it is that I said, using the texts I quoted and showing how what I said the text are saying is wrong.

has no precedent in the history of Theravāda Buddhism

That is not quite so. Bhikkhu Bodhi recognizes the point I have raised:

Later forms of Buddhism draw extreme distinctions between the Buddhas and the arahants, but in the Nikayas this distinction is not as sharp as one might expect if one takes the later texts as the benchmark of interpretation. On the one hand, the Buddha is an arahant, as is evident from the standard verse of homage to the Blessed One; on the other, arahants are buddhas, in the sense that they have attained full enlightenment, sambodhi, by awakening to the same truths that the Buddha himself realized.A Buddha has the function of discovering and expounding the path, and he also possesses a unique familiarity with the intricacies of the path not shared by his disciples. His disciples follow the path he reveals and attain enlightenment afterward, under his guidance. IN THE BUDDHA’S WORDS, by Bhikkhu Bodhi. Page 382.

Ven Nyanatiloka:

    bodhi
    (from verbal root budhi, to awaken, to understand): awakenment, enlightenment, supreme knowledge. "(Through Bodhi) one awakens from the slumber or stupor (inflicted upon the mind) by the defilements (kilesa) and comprehends the Four Noble Truths (sacca)" (Com. to M. 10).

    The enlightenment of a Buddha is called sammā-sambodhi, 'perfect enlightenment'. The faith (saddhā) of a lay follower of the Buddha is described as "he believes in the enlightenment of the Perfect One" (saddahati Tathāgatassa bodhim: M.53, A.III.2).

    As components of the state of enlightenment and contributory factors to its achievement, are mentioned in the texts: the 7 factors of enlightenment (bojjhanga = bodhi-anga) and the 37 'things pertaining to enlightenment' (bodhipakkhiya-dhammā). In one of the later books of the Sutta-Pitaka, the Buddhavamsa, 10 bodhipācana-dhammā are mentioned, i.e. qualities that lead to the ripening of perfect enlightenment; these are the 10 perfections (pāramī).

    There is a threefold classification of enlightenment:

    1. that of a noble disciple (sāvaka-bodhi, q.v.). i.e. of an Arahat,
    2. of an Independently Enlightened One (pacceka-bodhi, q.v.), and
    3. of a Perfect Enlightened One (sammā-sambodhi).
    This 3-fold division, however, is of later origin, and in this form it neither occurs in the canonical texts nor in the older Sutta commentaries. The closest approximation to it is found in a verse sutta which is probably of a comparatively later period, the Treasure Store Sutta (Nidhikkanda Sutta) of the Khuddakapātha, where the following 3 terms are mentioned in stanza 15: sāvaka-pāramī, pacceka-bodhi, buddha-bhūmi (see Khp. Tr., pp. 247f.).

    The commentaries (e.g. to M., Buddhavamsa, Cariyapitaka) generally give a 4-fold explanation of the word bodhi:

    1. the tree of enlightenment,
    2. the holy path (ariya-magga),
    3. Nibbāna,
    4 omniscience (of the Buddha: sabbaññutā-ñāna).
    As to (2), the commentaries quote Cula-Nidesa where bodhi is defined as the knowledge relating to the 4 paths (of Stream-entry, etc.; catūsu maggesu ñāna).

    Neither in the canonical texts nor in the old commentaries is it stated that a follower of the Buddha may choose between the three kinds of enlightenment and aspire either to become a Buddha, a Pacceka-Buddha, or an Arahat-disciple. This conception of a choice between three aspirations is, however, frequently found in present-day Theravāda countries, e.g. in Sri Lanka.
    http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/b_f/bodhi.htm

I have no problem with: This and that is what the Theravada classically teaches. But one also can enter into dialogue with the suttas, asking what they teach; is it the same as as what one finds in the classical doctrinal aspects of the Theravada? That is a valid line of inquiry and that does not mean that I or others who might do this are some sort of naughty modernist secular revisionists who just don't get it.
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: Path to Buddhahood

Postby Hanzze » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:26 am

A Buddha has the function


I guess that is maybe the key. So is there any need to claim or appear?
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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