“Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytism

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytism

Postby Raksha » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:53 pm

DAWN wrote:Actualy Mahayana is wery usefull to Dhamma, because peoples wich mind is much aflicted can not enter, and accept directly Buddha words of renonciation, so they comes to Mahayana


Strange...I have heard Mahayana practitioners make almost identical remarks about the Theravada. Recently, at a Buddhist conference I publicly attacked one Vajrayana speaker for disparaging the Theravada, as suitable for those incapable of following the 'superior' Vajrayana. Lord Buddha did not teach an inferior vehicle, which means that they are all equally excellent. It depends on the individual, one with inferior motivation and effort will make a poor job even if taught personally by a Buddha. In truth we are one family, Ekayana, and no brother or sister is superior to another. In the present age it is imperative that we overcome perceived differences between teachings and work together.
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytism

Postby daverupa » Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:02 pm

Raksha wrote:Lord Buddha did not teach an inferior vehicle, which means that they are all equally excellent.


Lord Buddha did not teach vajrayana. One accepts that it was held in Naga realms, or what-have-you, without any more evidence than that offered for the Qu'ran having been delivered to Mohammad via angel.
    "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: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytism

Postby ALot » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:07 pm

Ānanda, in the future, if the bhikkhus can't handle anatta, teach them about buddha nature. If the bhikkhus become obsessed with dhamma analysis, teach them emptiness. If the bhikkhus cherish scriptures instead of practise, teach them about a special transmission outside the scriptures. If the bhikkhus lack interest in morality and meditation, teach them about secret tantras they'll receive later.

-Buddha, Mahaparinibbana Sutta, classified attachment "Skillful Means"
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytism

Postby daverupa » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:41 pm

ALot wrote:
Ānanda, in the future, if the bhikkhus can't handle anatta, teach them about buddha nature. If the bhikkhus become obsessed with dhamma analysis, teach them emptiness. If the bhikkhus cherish scriptures instead of practise, teach them about a special transmission outside the scriptures. If the bhikkhus lack interest in morality and meditation, teach them about secret tantras they'll receive later.

-Buddha, Mahaparinibbana Sutta, classified attachment "Skillful Means"


Where is this passage, for example, in the following link:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html

Part and section, if possible.

:heart:
    "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: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytism

Postby ALot » Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:11 pm

daverupa wrote:Part and section, if possible.

It belongs here, between paragraphs 1 and 2, but it's classified stuff, not visible for everyone:
http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh067-u.html# ... xhortation
1. Now the Blessed One spoke to the Venerable Ānanda, saying: “It may be, Ānanda, that to some among you the thought will come: ‘Ended is the word of the Master; we have a Master no longer.’ But it should not, Ānanda, be so considered. For that which I have proclaimed and made known as the Dhamma and the Discipline, that shall be your Master when I am gone.

--confidential Skillful Means--
Ānanda, in the future, if the bhikkhus can't handle anatta, teach them about buddha nature. If the bhikkhus become obsessed with dhamma analysis, teach them emptiness. If the bhikkhus cherish scriptures instead of practise, teach them about a special transmission outside the scriptures. If the bhikkhus lack interest in morality and meditation, teach them about secret tantras they'll receive later.
--confidential--


2. “And, Ānanda, whereas now the bhikkhus address one another as ‘friend,’ let it not be so when I am gone. The senior bhikkhus, Ānanda, may address the junior ones by their name, their family name, or as ‘friend’; but the junior bhikkhus should address the senior ones as ‘venerable sir’ or ‘your reverence.’

But all this super secret classified stuff probably doesn't belong to "Early Buddhism".
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytism

Postby DAWN » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:35 pm

Good joke :smile:
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytism

Postby Kusala » Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:01 am

Raksha wrote:
DAWN wrote:Actualy Mahayana is wery usefull to Dhamma, because peoples wich mind is much aflicted can not enter, and accept directly Buddha words of renonciation, so they comes to Mahayana


Strange...I have heard Mahayana practitioners make almost identical remarks about the Theravada. Recently, at a Buddhist conference I publicly attacked one Vajrayana speaker for disparaging the Theravada, as suitable for those incapable of following the 'superior' Vajrayana. Lord Buddha did not teach an inferior vehicle, which means that they are all equally excellent. It depends on the individual, one with inferior motivation and effort will make a poor job even if taught personally by a Buddha. In truth we are one family, Ekayana, and no brother or sister is superior to another. In the present age it is imperative that we overcome perceived differences between teachings and work together.


I agree. Even though Theravada and Mahayana (Vajrayana included) are different branches of Buddhism, we're still one big family.
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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytis

Postby Paribbajaka » Wed May 08, 2013 9:18 pm

James the Giant wrote:When I first learned about "Skillful Means" I was appalled and aghast:
"You're saying the Buddha DELIBERATELY LIED for 45 years of teaching!?"
After a bit of study I understand the idea of Upaya better, but it still seems a bit icky and dishonest to me.

To be honest, (and without a shred of evidence offered by me) it seems like exactly the kind of thing a new sect would fabricate in order to discredit the old school.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

How is the above different from skillful means?
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytis

Postby binocular » Thu May 09, 2013 7:29 am

Paribbajaka wrote:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.3.02.than.html

How is the above different from skillful means?


In the case of Venerable Nanda, the trick involves two people, one who is in on the trick and one who isn't. And it was resolved within foreseeable time.

As things stand, the Mahayanist "skillful means" look more like an attempt to deliberately fool oneself, actually knowing that one is fooling oneself but doing it anyway. And this for an unspecified time duration.
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytis

Postby Dan74 » Thu May 09, 2013 9:45 am

binocular wrote:
Paribbajaka wrote:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.3.02.than.html

How is the above different from skillful means?


In the case of Venerable Nanda, the trick involves two people, one who is in on the trick and one who isn't. And it was resolved within foreseeable time.

As things stand, the Mahayanist "skillful means" look more like an attempt to deliberately fool oneself, actually knowing that one is fooling oneself but doing it anyway. And this for an unspecified time duration.


How do you mean?

I am not aware of Mahayana Buddhists deliberately fooling themselves as part of their practice.
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytis

Postby Paribbajaka » Thu May 09, 2013 11:50 am

binocular wrote:
Paribbajaka wrote:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.3.02.than.html

How is the above different from skillful means?


In the case of Venerable Nanda, the trick involves two people, one who is in on the trick and one who isn't. And it was resolved within foreseeable time.

As things stand, the Mahayanist "skillful means" look more like an attempt to deliberately fool oneself, actually knowing that one is fooling oneself but doing it anyway. And this for an unspecified time duration.


The Buddha deliberately lied to achieve an aim. This is actually very similar to the accepted definition of skillful means in the Mahayana.

As far as deliberately deluding themselves, most modern Mahayanists accept that their sutras were not spoken by the Buddha,but do not lose sleep over it too much. In this modern world where all scripture is looking to be of somewhat dubious authenticity (even, let's be honest, the Tipitaka), it is a virtue to be able to accept that your scruiptures are not true in the historical sense but true in a spiritual sense :anjali:
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytis

Postby binocular » Fri May 10, 2013 4:05 pm

Dan74 wrote:How do you mean?

I am not aware of Mahayana Buddhists deliberately fooling themselves as part of their practice.

On the one hand, they talk about the necessity of having compassion for other living beings, of training for the sake of other living beings, and how all living beings have Buddha nature;
and on the other hand, they say there actually are no living beings.

This I gathered from Stcherbatsky's Buddhist logic.
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytis

Postby Paribbajaka » Fri May 10, 2013 5:31 pm

binocular wrote:
Dan74 wrote:How do you mean?

I am not aware of Mahayana Buddhists deliberately fooling themselves as part of their practice.

On the one hand, they talk about the necessity of having compassion for other living beings, of training for the sake of other living beings, and how all living beings have Buddha nature;
and on the other hand, they say there actually are no living beings.

This I gathered from Stcherbatsky's Buddhist logic.


Binocular, that is just the Mahayana way of expressing Dhamma. Theravada also spends a good deal of time speaking of love and compassion for beings that are inehrently "without self". The understanding is that on a relative level there are sentient beings, but on a deeper level there are not.

Studying the teaching of anatta, one sees that each of us is a temporary amassing of "stuff" that naturally dissipitates. We have no real, fundamental anything yet we live, go to work, eat food, etc.

One truth, two sets of words :anjali:
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytis

Postby ground » Sat May 11, 2013 3:41 am

binocular wrote:As things stand, the Mahayanist "skillful means" look more like an attempt to deliberately fool oneself, actually knowing that one is fooling oneself but doing it anyway. And this for an unspecified time duration.

binocular wrote:On the one hand, they talk about the necessity of having compassion for other living beings, of training for the sake of other living beings, and how all living beings have Buddha nature;
and on the other hand, they say there actually are no living beings.

Yes but that does not differentiate Mahayana from Theravada. Theravada also appeals to sense of self in the first place. As long as there arises sense of self that has to be fooled. But actually nothing is fooled and sense of self is foolishness itself. :sage:
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytis

Postby Dan74 » Sat May 11, 2013 4:10 am

binocular wrote:
Dan74 wrote:How do you mean?

I am not aware of Mahayana Buddhists deliberately fooling themselves as part of their practice.

On the one hand, they talk about the necessity of having compassion for other living beings, of training for the sake of other living beings, and how all living beings have Buddha nature;
and on the other hand, they say there actually are no living beings.

This I gathered from Stcherbatsky's Buddhist logic.


This is well-explained by the two truths doctrine. I don't think this is too different to Theravada.

On the one hand conventionally we speak of beings. Until the truth of anatta is seen, we think largely in terms of selves and discrete entities. Ultimately there are no selves, no beings, as we conceive of them. But until we know it, there is no sense in trying to brainwash ourselves in thinking so.
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytis

Postby binocular » Sat May 11, 2013 11:56 am

Paribbajaka wrote:Binocular, that is just the Mahayana way of expressing Dhamma. Theravada also spends a good deal of time speaking of love and compassion for beings that are inehrently "without self". The understanding is that on a relative level there are sentient beings, but on a deeper level there are not.

ground wrote:Yes but that does not differentiate Mahayana from Theravada.

Which Theravada?


Paribbajaka wrote:Binocular, that is just the Mahayana way of expressing Dhamma. Theravada also spends a good deal of time speaking of love and compassion for beings that are inehrently "without self". The understanding is that on a relative level there are sentient beings, but on a deeper level there are not.

You're asserting that ontologically, there is no self. That is indeed the position of Classical Theravada. I am sure you are aware that there is an ongoing discussion of how accurate this is in regard to the Pali Canon, and about the problems that arise from a definitive no-self view.
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytis

Postby Paribbajaka » Sat May 11, 2013 12:36 pm

Please show me a concrete "self"ness and I will retract my statements.
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytis

Postby binocular » Sat May 11, 2013 12:46 pm

Paribbajaka wrote:Please show me a concrete "self"ness and I will retract my statements.

It's not my intention to convert you.
Your statements, your karma.
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytis

Postby ground » Sat May 11, 2013 12:49 pm

binocular wrote:
Paribbajaka wrote:Binocular, that is just the Mahayana way of expressing Dhamma. Theravada also spends a good deal of time speaking of love and compassion for beings that are inehrently "without self". The understanding is that on a relative level there are sentient beings, but on a deeper level there are not.

ground wrote:Yes but that does not differentiate Mahayana from Theravada.

Which Theravada?

Any you can think of. :sage:
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Re: “Skillful Means” and the rhetoric of Mahāyāna proselytis

Postby Paribbajaka » Sat May 11, 2013 1:45 pm

binocular wrote:
Paribbajaka wrote:Please show me a concrete "self"ness and I will retract my statements.

It's not my intention to convert you.
Your statements, your karma.


I am not asking you to convert me. I'm asking to to expalin this statement.

binocular wrote: You're asserting that ontologically, there is no self. That is indeed the position of Classical Theravada. I am sure you are aware that there is an ongoing discussion of how accurate this is in regard to the Pali Canon, and about the problems that arise from a definitive no-self view.


This is not a unique position of "Classical Theravada". In fact, it is one of the defining features of Buddhist philosophy. Every form of Buddhism holds non-self as one of its core views. Yet you spoke as if this was not the case, as if there are people out there who believe that the Buddha did not teach a not-self doctrine (when, in fact, it's one of the "Dhamma seals", the core points of teaching that the Buddha himself said any form or mutation of his teaching would contain). I think when someone makes such a radical statement like that, they should expend a little effort and back it up.
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