Why are llamas significant?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Why are llamas significant?

Postby Seth19930 » Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:28 pm

Hello everyone, I'm having a very hard time finding the reason llamas are a significant symbol in Buddhism. Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Re: Why are llamas significant?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:39 pm

They are a significant symbol in tibetan buddhism, not in theravada buddhism. In theravada, the importance is given to admirable friends, companions in the holy life.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Why are llamas significant?

Postby Seth19930 » Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:46 pm

Thanks! Well since I've already posted in a Theravada discussion forum does anyone have knowledge pertaining to why llamas are significant in Tibetan Buddhism?
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Re: Why are llamas significant?

Postby daverupa » Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:54 pm

Llamas aren't indigenous to Tibet...
    "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: Why are llamas significant?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:59 pm

Which lama are you referring to? This one:

Image

Or this one:

Image
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Re: Why are llamas significant?

Postby Aloka » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:00 pm

Here's a photo of a very important high llama.


Image
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Re: Why are llamas significant?

Postby daverupa » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:01 pm

The one-l lama,
He's a priest.
The two-l llama,
He's a beast.
And I will bet
A silk pajama
There isn't any
Three-l lllama.

-Ogden Nash

(Nash added as a footnote, *The author's attention has been called to a type of conflagration known as a three-alarmer. Pooh.)
    "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: Why are llamas significant?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:17 pm

And with that note, let's move this to the lounge. :tongue:
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Re: Why are llamas significant?

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:32 pm

Seth19930 wrote:Thanks! Well since I've already posted in a Theravada discussion forum does anyone have knowledge pertaining to why llamas are significant in Tibetan Buddhism?

Hi, Seth,
Lamas are highly trained priests. That's one reason they are respected.
For most of Tibet's history, hardly anyone except the lamas got much of an education in anything, so lamas were also respected for their other kinds of expertise.
Finally, Tibetan Buddhism gives teachers - lamas - far more spiritual authority than other Buddhist schools give to monks.

Hope this helps,

Kim
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Re: Why are llamas significant?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:46 pm

Man I step out to get groceries and all the good llama puns are taken by the time I get back...

Just my luck!

Anyway a Lama is just a term for a highly respected teacher of Tibetan Buddhism - and as Tibetan Buddhism focuses heavily on student-teacher relationships and Dharma transmission, they form an integral part of the lineage chain that defines their school.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Why are llamas significant?

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:48 pm

I'm gonna ride my llama
From Peru to Texarcana

I'm gonna ride him good
In my old neighbourhood.

-- Ride my llama, Neil Young
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Why are llamas significant?

Postby Seth19930 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:49 am

So the animal has no relation to the title in any symbolic way?
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Re: Why are llamas significant?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:30 am

Seth19930 wrote:So the animal has no relation to the title in any symbolic way?

Unlikely, since the term lama originated in South America:
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definitio ... lish/llama

:anjali:
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Re: Why are llamas significant?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:45 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Seth19930 wrote:So the animal has no relation to the title in any symbolic way?

Unlikely, since the term lama originated in South America:
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definitio ... lish/llama

:anjali:
Mike


Oh, but there is!



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Re: Why are llamas significant?

Postby Seth19930 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:49 am

Lama in Tibetan means weighty! I figured it out! Because the dharma is weighty!
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Re: Why are llamas significant?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:02 am

Seth19930 wrote:Lama in Tibetan means weighty! I figured it out! Because the dharma is weighty!


lama (blama) literally means "none higher." It is not a direct translation into the Tibetan of guru (Sanskrit; garu in Pali), which means heavy or one with gravitas.
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: Why are llamas significant?

Postby Aloka » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:42 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Seth19930 wrote:Lama in Tibetan means weighty! I figured it out! Because the dharma is weighty!


lama (blama) literally means "none higher." It is not a direct translation into the Tibetan of guru (Sanskrit; garu in Pali), which means heavy or one with gravitas.



From The Berzin Archives:

The Tibetans translated guru as lama (bla-ma). La means unsurpassable or sublime, while ma means mother.

Lamas resemble mothers in that they have given birth internally to what is sublime. In other words, lamas are people who are extraordinarily advanced in spiritual development. Moreover, lamas help others to give birth to their own achievements of similar states.

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/e-books/published_books/spiritual_teacher/pt1/spiritual_teacher_02.html

.

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Re: Why are llamas significant?

Postby Raitanator » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:55 pm

It actually depends on what you practice. At some point, lama might become essential for the path, especially if one is trying to engage to tantric practices. As they saying goes: "guru is the path". However, there's plenty of mahayana, and some similar to theravadin tradition, which doesn't require any commitment or guru-disciple relationship. In addition, guru doesn't necessarily have to be a monk or a nun. There are also gurus who are laypeople.
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