The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

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The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:10 pm

Hi all,

I'm reading a book called, "Buddhadhama-Natural Laws and Values for Life" translated by Phra Prayudh Payutto & Grant A. Olson. I've only just started it, but I would like to share someting I just read.

"The intentions and comprehensiveness of the religious teachings and practices of Lord Buddha and his followers is apparent in the woreds attributed to him. The very first time he sent his followers out to spread the religio, he said the following:"

Bikkus, you should all wander about for the benefit and happiness of the majority, help the people of this world, support and provide well-being to all dieties and human beings.


Coming from vajrayana, I appreciated finding this gem, as there is a direct parallel between this and the encouragement I've received from all of my teachers to cultivate bodhicitta. Just wanted to share it here.

Kind regards,
Drolma
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Element » Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:18 pm

The ultruistic intention of the Bodhisatta, namely, the still unawakened Prince Siddharta, is described in the Bhaya-bherava Sutta, where the Buddha described his former striving.
There are some priests & contemplatives, brahman, who have the perception of 'day' when it is night and of 'night' when it is day. This, I tell you, is their being in a dwelling of delusion. As for me, I have the perception of 'day' when it is day and of 'night' when it is night. If anyone, when speaking rightly, were to say, 'A being not subject to delusion has appeared in the world for the benefit & happiness of many, out of sympathy for the world, for the welfare, benefit & happiness of human & divine beings,' he would rightly be speaking of me.
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Individual » Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:39 pm

Drolma wrote:Hi all,

I'm reading a book called, "Buddhadhama-Natural Laws and Values for Life" translated by Phra Prayudh Payutto & Grant A. Olson. I've only just started it, but I would like to share someting I just read.

"The intentions and comprehensiveness of the religious teachings and practices of Lord Buddha and his followers is apparent in the woreds attributed to him. The very first time he sent his followers out to spread the religio, he said the following:"

Bikkus, you should all wander about for the benefit and happiness of the majority, help the people of this world, support and provide well-being to all dieties and human beings.


Coming from vajrayana, I appreciated finding this gem, as there is a direct parallel between this and the encouragement I've received from all of my teachers to cultivate bodhicitta. Just wanted to share it here.

Kind regards,
Drolma
:buddha2:

I think this is a question best put to rest. What differences does it make? :shrug:

His intentions were noble and his teachings work. Asking this question is a big and nasty distraction.
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:02 am

I beg your pardon.

What in the world is nasty about this? I'm learning about Theravada pretty much for the first time, have stated as much in other posts, and I'm writing in the "Exploring Theravada" section.

I just found a neat passage today in a book that Stuka recommended to me, and I wanted to share because it relates to what I've learned in other traditions.
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Will » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:07 am

Thanks for pointing that quote out Drolma. Sharing such Dhamma Gems uplifts us all - almost all that is.
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:08 am

Drolma wrote:I beg your pardon.

What in the world is nasty about this? I'm learning about Theravada pretty much for the first time, have stated as much in other posts, and I'm writing in the "Exploring Theravada" section.

I just found a neat passage today in a book that Stuka recommended to me, and I wanted to share because it relates to what I've learned in other traditions.



There is not a thing wrong with your post. Actually, I appreciate the point you are making.
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:10 am

Hi
this is a very interesting question as it isn't just about the intention of the Buddha but that of the teachers or monks of his teachings
I will contemplate on this and be back
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:18 am

Oh yes, right after that Lord Buddha goes on to describe the responsibilites of all noble people from Bikkhus and Bikkhas to lay males and females who aren't householders, to men and women with families. And He emphasizes the importance of their intentions all the way down. I'd like to quote it all here, but my 3 year-old keeps "helping" me type [typos?] and it's too much of a struggle ;)
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:37 am

Just buy the book, then. It's a little pricey but it's worth it. :reading:
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Element » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:40 am

:reading:
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Individual » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:44 am

Drolma wrote:Well that's not my point or the intention behind my post. If it's your point though, that's fine. Of course you're entitled to it.

Furthermore, it's not right to make assumptions about what I wrote just because of my background.

I didn't assume that. I'm sorry if what I said came across as harsh. :)

Questioning the intentions of Buddha's teaching doesn't seem to have any practical relevance to the Buddhist path. The Buddha's intent was profoundly and unimaginably good. What more could be said about it than that?

A person, especially a Mahayana Buddhist, might dig deep into the suttas and come up with some perplexing questions, like, "Why did the Buddha require a Maha-Brahma to beg him before he taught the Dhamma?" And, "Why did the Buddha require Ananda to beg him to teach for another couple decades, before he would do so?" Through doing this digging, one might start to question how noble the Buddha's intentions were... Asking questions like, "Why didn't the Buddha choose to live forever?" and "Why didn't the Buddha make EVERYONE enlightened?"

But these questions are best put aside. If anyone can be said to have been compassionate, it is Gautama, the greatest man to have ever lived. His mind is beyond comprehension, but his universal, boundless compassion is indubitable. If you understand this, then you should understand why this is a question that should be put aside.

The Buddha's teaching is meant to be learned and put into practice. The Buddha's intentions are something which led up to the development of his teaching, but are not exactly a part of the teaching itself. The Buddha's intentions fall outside of the Four Noble Truths and because of that, they are irrelevant.

Simsapa Sutta

Once the Blessed One was staying at Kosambi in the simsapa1 forest. Then, picking up a few simsapa leaves with his hand, he asked the monks, "What do you think, monks: Which are more numerous, the few simsapa leaves in my hand or those overhead in the simsapa forest?"

"The leaves in the hand of the Blessed One are few in number, lord. Those overhead in the simsapa forest are more numerous."

"In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven't I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them.

"And what have I taught? 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': This is what I have taught. And why have I taught these things? Because they are connected with the goal, relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. This is why I have taught them.

"Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress.' Your duty is the contemplation, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"


Metta,
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:51 am

Oh for goodness sakes! Image

I'm not questioning the Buddha's intentions or asking all sorts of strange speculative questions. I'm pointing out what He taught. This is the Exploring Theravada section where people new to buddhism or coming from other traditions can talk about this stuff. I read a little something that I got excited about today, and posted it here for newcomers like me. It is not irrelevant to me and I think it's motivational.

But it's okay Individual, thank you for sharing what you did and expanding on your point.
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Will » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:00 am

Indy: The Buddha's intent was profoundly and unimaginably good. What more could be said about it than that?


Yes, how dare anyone raise their voice in praise of Buddha after His parinibbana. Shame on the millions of devoted Buddhists who did just that over the last 2000 plus years. Their irrelevance is stunning. [insert sarcasm smilie here, but could not find one.]
Last edited by Will on Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:04 am

You got it, Will :D

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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Individual » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:16 am

Ah, I see. So you weren't questioning the Buddha's intentions, only praising them.

Sorry. :bow:
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby appicchato » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:29 am

Individual wrote:I think this is a question best put to rest. What differences does it make? :shrug:


Which question would that be Individual?...
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:34 am

Greetings Drolma,

You quoted the following, and I'd just like to put it in context a little...

Bikkus, you should all wander about for the benefit and happiness of the majority, help the people of this world, support and provide well-being to all dieties and human beings.


Vinaya Piṭaka. 1.23 "Caratha, bhikkhave, cārikaṃ bahujana-hitāya bahujana-sukhāya lokānukampāya, atthāyahitāyasukhāya devamanussānaṃ. Mā ekena dve agamittha."

This verse was spoken to sixty arahants... in other words, sixty people who had already achieved the goal, had seen through the illusions of the world and fulfilled the holy life. This was said so that they could share the Dhamma which they had learned from the Buddha and pass it onto others so that they too could be liberated.

I trust you can see from this the difference between what the Buddha was exhorting to these sixty arahants versus that of the bodhisattva vow with which you are familiar.

In essence, the Buddha's intentions were to overcome suffering... first his own, and once he knew how to do it, use the remainder of his life to communicate the method to others so they could overcome their suffering too. The essential part is that one must focus on one's own enlightenment, achieve the goal and then they can be (and genuinely will be) of use to others.

This approach is expressed in such suttas as...

SN 47.19: Sedaka Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was living among the Sumbhas. Now there is a Sumbhan town named Sedaka. There the Blessed One addressed the monks, "Monks!"

"Yes, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "Once upon a time, monks, a bamboo acrobat, having erected a bamboo pole, addressed his assistant, Frying Pan: 'Come, my dear Frying Pan. Climb up the bamboo pole and stand on my shoulders.'

"'As you say, Master,' Frying Pan answered the bamboo acrobat and, climbing the bamboo pole, stood on his shoulders.

"So then the bamboo acrobat said to his assistant, 'Now you watch after me, my dear Frying Pan, and I'll watch after you. Thus, protecting one another, watching after one another, we'll show off our skill, receive our reward, and come down safely from the bamboo pole.'

"When he had said this, Frying Pan said to him, 'But that won't do at all, Master. You watch after yourself, and I'll watch after myself, and thus with each of us protecting ourselves, watching after ourselves, we'll show off our skill, receive our reward, and come down safely from the bamboo pole.'

"What Frying Pan, the assistant, said to her Master was the right way in that case.

"Monks, a frame of reference is to be practiced with the thought, 'I'll watch after myself.' A frame of reference is to be practiced with the thought, 'I'll watch after others.' When watching after oneself, one watches after others. When watching after others, one watches after oneself.

"And how does one, when watching after oneself, watch after others? Through pursuing [the practice], through developing it, through devoting oneself to it. This is how one, when watching after oneself, watches after others.

"And how does one, when watching after others, watch after oneself? Through endurance, through harmlessness, and through a mind of kindness & sympathy. This is how one, when watching after others, watches after oneself.

"A frame of reference is to be practiced with the thought, 'I'll watch after myself.' A frame of reference is to be practiced with the thought, 'I'll watch after others.' When watching after oneself, one watches after others. When watching after others, one watches after oneself."


Metta,
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Ben » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:14 pm

Thanks Drolma for sharing!
Metta

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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:30 pm

That is very interesting Retro, thank you :smile:

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but why was the Buddha teaching to people who had already attained arahantship?

I do understand the context now. I think the way the commentator expressed this in my book is a little misleading :rolleye:

Kindly,
Drolma
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Will » Sat Jan 17, 2009 3:45 pm

If an Arahant wanted to "wander about for the benefit and happiness of the majority, help the people of this world, support and provide well-being to all deities and human beings" for more than his (or her) present lifetime, could he? Or could an Arahant extend the length of his present lifetime, with the same motive?

The Mahayana has a tradition that several Arahants were asked by Buddha to protect his Dhamma until Maitreya Buddha comes - anything like that in Theravada?
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