The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

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The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Dhammakid » Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:04 pm

Hello Everyone,
After much exploration elsewhere, I'm becoming interested in Theravada practice again while maintaining my Zen practice for now. We'll see where it leads eventually.

I read this article (http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index.php?showtopic=33109) on ES by Jeffrey Samuels discussing the presence of the bodhisattva ideal in Theravada practice. It got me thinking about whether or not this whole idea of Mahayana universal bodhisattva-hood and everyone becoming Buddhas might be a bit overblown, and that the Mahayana may have intentionally taken full ownership of the ideal as some sort of political ploy.

But then again, if Samuels is right and it's true that Buddhahood is open to anyone, even in the Hearers' vehicle, then what's the difference between the two schools? Why practice one over the other?

What's does Theravada actually believe about Buddhahood? I've read plenty of sources elsewhere stating only one being in a hundred billion kalpas will even have a chance to be predicted by a Buddha and thus make the vows to attain Buddhahood. And yet Samuels presents evidence that the path is open to all, which I guess I'm reading as all having a chance.

What's the truth of the matter, if there is any? Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Dmytro » Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:53 pm

Hello Dhammakid,

I have read this article by Jeffrey Samuels. He writes that:

"In the early examples, we find the relationship drawn between kings and bodhisattvas in numerous, albeit tempered, ways. For instance, King Du.t.tagaama.nii exhibited the quality of compassion by refusing to enter the heavenly realm after his previous life as an ascetic (saama.nera) so that he could be reborn as a prince and unite the regional rulers of Sri Lanka as well as help develop the sangha and the Buddha's teaching."

There's a detailed article about Dutthagamani at:
http://www.vipassana.info/d/dutthagaamanii.htm

This king did not use any 'Bodhisatta ideal', since there was not such a thing at that time.

Jeffrey Samuels writes that "he appears to demonstrate certain bodhisattvic qualities", which is highly tenuous.

Mahavamsa just states that Dutthagamani was reborn in Tusita heaven, to become later a chief disciple of Metteya.

http://lakdiva.org/mahavamsa/chap032.html

No 'remaining in Samsara to help others' involved. Mahavamsa was written still before the Bodhisattva cult was introduced in Sri Lanka.

The date and place when Bodhisattva's ideal was introduced in Theravada can be established by text where it first appears - A Treatise on the Paaramiis by Acariya Dhammapala, 6th century, Southeastern India.

The first Theravadan text on Bodhisattva's path, A Treatise on the Paramis, by Acariya Dhammapala, borrows from Bodhisattvabhuumi, the fifteenth chapter of the Yogaacaarabhuumi, a voluminous text of the Yogaacaara school ascribed to Maitreya-naatha, the teacher of Asanga.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el409.html
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/37687/Asanga
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maitreya-n%C4%81tha

I posed myself a question of how exactly the idea of 'remaining in Samsara to help others' originated in Buddhism, especially in Theravada.

Evidently, among Theravadin countries, this started in the 8th century in Sri Lanka (see citations in the end of the message). Simultaneously there developed the cult of Lokesvara Natha (Sri Lankan version of Avalokitesvara).

"The cult of Avalokitesvara also spread to Sri Lanka. This is a little surprising as Sri Lanka primarily follows Theravada Buddhism, while Avalokitesvara was originally a strictly Mahayana conception. In Sri Lanka, he is called Natha, which is an abbreviation of Lokesvaranatha, which means "Lord of the World". He has become identified with the bodhisattva Maitreya, the "future Buddha". He is also seen as being identical with several Hindu gods. Natha is seen as the guardian deity of Sri Lanka, and is reportedly worshipped primarily because he is regarded as a pragmatically useful source of advantages in the phenomenal world. Although I have been able to find very little information on it, apparently the cult of Natha has also spread with little change to other Theravada Buddhist countries, such as Cambodia and Burma.

In Nepal, Avalokitesvara is conflated with the Brahman deity Matsyendranath. He is worshipped in elaborate rituals which are performed by a priestly caste. Ordination is handed down from father to son, with some important positions being sold to the highest bidder from within the caste. According to one reporter, the meanings behind the rituals have been largely forgotten. However, they continue to be performed because they are customary and are considered to bring luck."

Avalokitesvara and Tibetan Contemplation, by Karen M. Andrews
http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Aval ... M._Andrews

The name Natha, and the Avalokitesvara connection, points to the Nath (Mahasiddha) tradition. There we find the statements like:

"According to a recent Nath Guru, Shri Gurudev Mahendranath, another aim was to avoid reincarnation. In The Magick Path of Tantra, he wrote about several of the aims of the Naths,

"Our aims in life are to enjoy peace, freedom, and happiness in this life, but also to avoid rebirth onto this Earth plane. All this depends not on divine benevolence, but on the way we ourselves think and act."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nath

"Mahasiddhas are a form of bodhisattva, meaning they not only have the spiritual abilities to enter nirvana whenever they please, but they are so compassionate they resolve to remain in samsara instead to help others."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahasiddha

So it seems that the idea of remaining in Samsara emerged under the influence of such notion in Mahasiddha (Nath, Shaiva Siddhanta) tradition. The two key figures were Matsyendranatha (Lokesvaranatha) and Maitreyanatha.

Relevant citations:

"By the eighth century C.E., the amalgamation between the institution of kingship and bodhisattvas became even stronger. At this time, we find evidence of certain Theravaadin kings in Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand who openly declared themselves to be bodhisattvas. For example, King Ni`s`sanka Malla (1187-1196 C.E.) of Polonnaruva, Ceylon, states that "I will show my self in my [true] body which is endowed with benevolent regard for and attachment to the virtuous qualities of a bodhisattva king, who like a parent, protects the world and the religion." (38) In other epigraphical markings, there is a reference to King Paraakramabaahu VI as "Bodhisatva [sic] Paraakrama Baahu." (39) Finally, the conflation of kings and bodhisattvas on the island of Sri Lanka is established most strongly by King Mahinda IV, who not only referred to himself as a bodhisattva as a result of his bodhisattva-like resolute determination, (40) but who even went so far as to proclaim that "none but the bodhisattas would become kings of prosperous La^nkaa." (41)

...

51 - There is evidence that suggests that certain lay people living in Sri Lanka took bodhisattva vows to attain buddhahood. For example, we find that two Sri Lankans, after freeing their children and wives from slavery, dedicated the merit derived from these actions "for the.benefit of all beings" (Epigraphia Zeylanica, 4:133, nos. 1-4) as well as to their own attainment of "Buddhahood as desired" (ibid., 4:133, nos. 2-3). We also find a similar wish made by a "lay" person who lived between the fifth and eighth centuries and who sculpted or commissioned the sculpting of a rock in the shape of a stuupa.

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha123.htm

"In Sri Lanka, in the 10th Century, King Mahinda IV (956-972 AD.) in an inscription proclaimed that "none but the Bodhisattvas would become kings of Sri Lanka (Ceylon)". Thus it was believed that kings of Sri Lanka were Bodhisattvas.

A Thera named Maha-Tipitaka Culabhaya who wrote the Milinda-Tika (about the 12th Century AD.) in the Theravada tradition of the Mahavihara at Anuradhapura, says at the end of the book in the colophon that he aspires to become a Buddha: Buddho Bhaveyyam "May I become a Buddha," which means that this author is a Bodhisattva.

We come across at the end of some palm leaf manuscripts of Buddhist texts in Sri Lanka the names of even a few copyists who have recorded their wish to become Buddhas, and they too are to be considered as Bodhisattvas. At the end of a religious ceremony or an act of piety, the bhikkhu who gives benedictions, usually admonishes the congregation to make a resolution to attain Nirvana by realising one of the three Bodhis - Sravakabodhi, Pratyekabodhi or Samyaksambodhi - as they wish according to their capacity.

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha126.htm

"By about the tenth century, this belief had become so strong that the king of Sri Lanka had not only to be Buddhist but also a Bodhisatta. The Jetavanarama Slab Inscription of Mahinda IV (956-972 AD) proclaimed

"None but the Bodhisatta would become kings of Sri Lanka …….(who) .... received assurance (vyaran) from the Omniscent Buddha."

http://www.lankalibrary.com/Bud/establishment.htm

"The bodhisattva concept had its influence in the evolution of kingship in Sri Lanka, too. For some time between the fourth and the eleventh centuries CE, the kings of Sri Lanka began to be regarded not as ordinary human beings but as bodhisattvas. The Jetavanarama slab-inscription of Mahinda IV and the Pritidanakamanapa inscription of Nissanka Malla are instances where the rulers refer to themselves as bodhisattvas. The Rajatarangani (p. 470 and the Nikayasamgrahava, ed. Kumaranatunga, p. 24) also bear evidence to this. Parakramabahu II says that he would become a Buddha (Mahavamsa, ch. 86, stz. 7).

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha238.htm

In Burma, the relationship between kings and bodhisattvas is exemplified with King Kyanzittha, who claimed himself to be "the bodhisatva [sic], who shall verily become a Buddha that saves (and) redeems all beings, who is great in love (and) compassion for all beings at all times... [and] who was foretold by the Lord Buddha, who is to become a true Buddha." (42) In another instance, King Alaungsithu wrote that he would like to build a causeway to help all beings reach "The Blessed City [i.e., nirvaa.na]." (43) Finally, kings `Srii Tribhuvanaaditya, Thilui^n Ma^n, Ca~nsuu I, and Naato^nmyaa all referred to themselves as bodhisattvas. (44)

42 - Epigraphia Burmanica, 1:146.

43 - P. M. Tin, "The Shwegugyi Pagoda Inscriptions, Pagan 1141 A.D.," The Journal of the Burma Research Society 10 (2) (1920): 72.

44 - T. Tun, "Religion in Burma, A.D. 100-1300," The Journal of the Burma Research Society 42 (1959): 53.

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha123.htm

After a war between the Mon and the Myanmar in which the Mon initially attacked and then conquered Ava itself, the Myanmar king Alaungpaya (1752-60), who believed himself a Bodhisatta, crushed Mon resistance once and for all. After Pago had fallen into his hands in 1756, Lower Myanmar was devastated and many of the Mon survivors fled to Thailand or were deported as slaves.

...

Bodawpaya is also reputed to have been beset by a form of megalomania. He wanted to force the Sangha to confirm officially that he was the Bodhisatta of the next Buddha to come in this world cycle, the Buddha Metteyya.

http://www.cambodianbuddhist.org/englis ... el399.html

In Thailand, a similar connection is drawn. One example of a Thai bodhisattva-king is Lu T'ai of Sukhothai who "wished to become a Buddha to help all beings... leave behind the sufferings of transmigration." (45) The relation between King Lu T'ai and bodhisattvahood is also manifested by the events occurring at his ordination ceremony that were similar to "the ordinary course of happenings in the career of a Bodhisattva." (46)

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha123.htm

Metta,
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Dhammakid » Sat Aug 01, 2009 7:59 pm

Dmytro,
Wow, this is some really great information. I had no idea about most of this stuff.

I had an idea of something to say to show I'm understanding what I'm reading, but I'll let you paraphrase just so I am sure. I'm having a hard time coming to a conclusion. Sorry, my brain is slow today :shrug:

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby gavesako » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:28 pm

Apart from the kings and other aspiring to be bodhisattvas, there is also an earlier tradition (first texts around 1st century) of very strict ascetic forest monks who were copying the Buddha's years of asceticism in order to cultivate the same level of parami so as to be reborn as a Buddha in the future, able to guide others to the goal. Their lifestyle and practices are similar to the early monks (thought of as Arahants) portrayed in the Theragatha, rejecting the domesticated city monks and glorifying a golden age in the past.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:20 pm

Dhammakid wrote: I've read plenty of sources elsewhere stating only one being in a hundred billion kalpas will even have a chance to be predicted by a Buddha and thus make the vows to attain Buddhahood. And yet Samuels presents evidence that the path is open to all, which I guess I'm reading as all having a chance.


Hi Dhammakid,

I assume you are talking about a samma-sam-buddha? The fully enlightened state of the Arahant is open to all at just about anytime. A samma-sam-buddha like the historical Buddha is a being that comes around only once every 5,000 + years.

If you look at some of the past lives stories of the Buddha (the Bodhisatta) you find many instances of him perfecting the Paramitas over many lifetimes. In the same way, all of us can perfect the Paramitas, helping people and being generous, without any expectation of being a samma-sam-buddha. The samma-sam-buddha beings are far too rare to plan on that type of life, at least for me. :tongue: But perfecting the path and paramitas is something all of us can do.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Dhammakid » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:30 pm

TheDhamma wrote:
Dhammakid wrote: I've read plenty of sources elsewhere stating only one being in a hundred billion kalpas will even have a chance to be predicted by a Buddha and thus make the vows to attain Buddhahood. And yet Samuels presents evidence that the path is open to all, which I guess I'm reading as all having a chance.


Hi Dhammakid,

I assume you are talking about a samma-sam-buddha? The fully enlightened state of the Arahant is open to all at just about anytime. A samma-sam-buddha like the historical Buddha is a being that comes around only once every 5,000 + years.

If you look at some of the past lives stories of the Buddha (the Bodhisatta) you find many instances of him perfecting the Paramitas over many lifetimes. In the same way, all of us can perfect the Paramitas, helping people and being generous, without any expectation of being a samma-sam-buddha. The samma-sam-buddha beings are far too rare to plan on that type of life, at least for me. :tongue: But perfecting the path and paramitas is something all of us can do.


Hello TD,
This is also something I have been considering - is taking on the bodhisatta path too ambitious for me? Am I really capable? I know it sounds a bit self-deprecating, but I have to be practical. I struggle with my everyday practice, let alone trying to perfect even one of the 10 paramitas. I think I'm better suited on the Sravaka path while practicing as diligently as possible. Less pressure! You would think many Tibetans and Chan practitioners would cave under such tremendous pressure!

Yes, I've heard this idea of a complete and fully enlightened Buddha coming along only every 5k years or so. That's what I was thinking about when reading the Samuels article. It sounds more reasonable to me. If everyone were to really have a chance at becoming a Buddha, the waiting list would be out of this world, haha.

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby woini » Sun Aug 02, 2009 2:43 am

hey DK,

Thanks for creating that Africana facebook group. I just joined. :smile:
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Dhammakid » Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:24 am

woini wrote:hey DK,

Thanks for creating that Africana facebook group. I just joined. :smile:


You're welcome, woini.

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Dan74 » Sun Aug 02, 2009 1:15 pm

Dhammakid wrote:Hello Everyone,
After much exploration elsewhere, I'm becoming interested in Theravada practice again while maintaining my Zen practice for now. We'll see where it leads eventually.

I read this article (http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index.php?showtopic=33109) on ES by Jeffrey Samuels discussing the presence of the bodhisattva ideal in Theravada practice. It got me thinking about whether or not this whole idea of Mahayana universal bodhisattva-hood and everyone becoming Buddhas might be a bit overblown, and that the Mahayana may have intentionally taken full ownership of the ideal as some sort of political ploy.

But then again, if Samuels is right and it's true that Buddhahood is open to anyone, even in the Hearers' vehicle, then what's the difference between the two schools? Why practice one over the other?

What's does Theravada actually believe about Buddhahood? I've read plenty of sources elsewhere stating only one being in a hundred billion kalpas will even have a chance to be predicted by a Buddha and thus make the vows to attain Buddhahood. And yet Samuels presents evidence that the path is open to all, which I guess I'm reading as all having a chance.

What's the truth of the matter, if there is any? Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

:anjali:
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Dear Dharmakid,

Did you actually study with a Mahayana (Zen) teacher?

I was never taught that we practice Mahayana because only we can attain Buddhahood.

Of course you can find these ideas in some books, but in practice we practice Zen because the methods work to loosen delusions and hindrances and realize the Buddha's message, I think. Not because ours is the superior vehicle or any such nonsense.

The Zen way happens to inspire me and work well for me (considering the limitations of my laziness and dullness). But one typically needs a teacher to practice Mahayana.

Good luck!!!

_/|\_
_/|\_
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Dhammakid » Sun Aug 02, 2009 1:36 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Dhammakid wrote:Hello Everyone,
Dear Dharmakid,

Did you actually study with a Mahayana (Zen) teacher?

I was never taught that we practice Mahayana because only we can attain Buddhahood.

Of course you can find these ideas in some books, but in practice we practice Zen because the methods work to loosen delusions and hindrances and realize the Buddha's message, I think. Not because ours is the superior vehicle or any such nonsense.

The Zen way happens to inspire me and work well for me (considering the limitations of my laziness and dullness). But one typically needs a teacher to practice Mahayana.

Good luck!!!

_/|\_


Yes, I sit with a Rinzai monk. It's very casual though, sessions held on my college's campus once per week, with just zazen and a short dharma talk. No in-depth study.

I wasn't saying that only Mahayana practitioners could be bodhisattvas. Sorry if it came out that way. I was saying that it seems Mahayana may have overblown their dedication to the bodhisattva path at the expense of the other vehicle's practitioners who could have the exact same aspiration. Sort of like a marketing campaign.

But Zen to me seems more realistic than, say, Tibetan. Zen doesn't seem so hung up on bodhisattva-hood.

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Dmytro » Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:02 pm

Hello Bhante Gavesako,

Apart from the kings and other aspiring to be bodhisattvas, there is also an earlier tradition (first texts around 1st century) of very strict ascetic forest monks who were copying the Buddha's years of asceticism in order to cultivate the same level of parami so as to be reborn as a Buddha in the future, able to guide others to the goal.


That's interesting, I've never heard about such monks.

Would you please tell the titles of these texts?

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:37 pm

Dhammakid wrote: I was saying that it seems Mahayana may have overblown their dedication to the bodhisattva path at the expense of the other vehicle's practitioners who could have the exact same aspiration. Sort of like a marketing campaign.


One could go into a long, lengthy critique of the Mahayana around this issue, which would really not be appropriaqte for this section. Essentially, I think you are correct in the above, but rather than get caught in all of that, just do the practice. If the bodhistta path is something you want to do, it should be a choice from a place of deep insight.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Dhammakid » Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:22 pm

tiltbillings wrote:One could go into a long, lengthy critique of the Mahayana around this issue, which would really not be appropriaqte for this section. Essentially, I think you are correct in the above, but rather than get caught in all of that, just do the practice. If the bodhistta path is something you want to do, it should be a choice from a place of deep insight.


That's for sure. This is, again, why I question the Mahayana aspiration that all of its followers take on such a dedication. To make it generic and universal just seems so misguided. I feel all beginning Buddhists could benefit from some Theravada/Zen practice and gain an understanding of the three paths before starting the Mahayana. Of course, if they do decide to take on the Bodhisatta aspiration, they don't necessarily have to switch to Mahayana.

But I digress :tongue:

Lol, this Zennie has been hanging around Dhamma Wheel too long.

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Will » Mon May 24, 2010 3:27 pm

See chapter one, The Noblest Aspiration: http://www.aimwell.org/assets/A%20Manua ... %20Man.pdf
This noble eightfold path is the ancient path traveled by all the Buddhas of eons past. Nagara Sutta
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Shonin » Mon May 24, 2010 4:11 pm

Interesting. Personally I'm still working on the supernormal powers part.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Shonin » Mon May 24, 2010 8:22 pm

As I understannd, this dates from around 1900. I wonder if this concept has older roots within Theravada, or if perhaps it was borrowed from Mahayana.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Goofaholix » Tue May 25, 2010 12:11 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Dhammakid wrote: I was saying that it seems Mahayana may have overblown their dedication to the bodhisattva path at the expense of the other vehicle's practitioners who could have the exact same aspiration. Sort of like a marketing campaign.


One could go into a long, lengthy critique of the Mahayana around this issue, which would really not be appropriaqte for this section. Essentially, I think you are correct in the above, but rather than get caught in all of that, just do the practice. If the bodhistta path is something you want to do, it should be a choice from a place of deep insight.


I think Dhammakids marketing campaign observation is correct, but putting that aside if the practice works then just do it as Tilt advises. Better to be Nike-yana in my opinion.
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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Dexing » Tue May 25, 2010 4:42 am

Dhammakid wrote:It got me thinking about whether or not this whole idea of Mahayana universal bodhisattva-hood and everyone becoming Buddhas might be a bit overblown, and that the Mahayana may have intentionally taken full ownership of the ideal as some sort of political ploy.

But then again, if Samuels is right and it's true that Buddhahood is open to anyone, even in the Hearers' vehicle, then what's the difference between the two schools? Why practice one over the other?


It's a matter of content and what that content leads to ultimately.

That means it's not just a matter of "our ideal vs your ideal". (I wonder where this term "ideal" came from in the context of "the Bodhisattva Ideal" anyway.) It's really not a matter of ideals, but content and stages, actual realizations not simply aspirations.

First of all, the Shravaka vehicle only deals with the illusion of personal selfhood, while the Mahayana — having covered this stage — begins to deal with the illusion of all phenomenal existence- something that is not even touched upon in classical teachings. Hence it is called the Small Vehicle because it only deals with breaking the false view of personal selfhood, not the false view of phenomenal existence. Although it does teach about the Dependent Origination of phenomena (such as the Aggregates, Sense Objects, etc..) and other characteristics that lead to disenchantment, but it doesn't deal with the fundamental validity of it's existence altogether, which leads to seeing the true face of reality.

Therefore, a Bodhisattva is one who has gone through the Small Vehicle stage of emptying personal selfhood (no I-my-me), and has begun to see through the illusion of the entire universe (no inside, no outside)- hence "Large Vehicle".

A Buddha is one who has perfected both, i.e. has completely seen through the illusion of personal selfhood and the whole of phenomena existence, and furthermore has actualized reality, i.e. has attained their so-called "True Self".

Since Small Vehicle teachings don't deal with this at all, of course such a path can't lead to Bodhisattvahood or Buddhahood but only Arhatship, until one has given rise to Bodhicitta and goes beyond the Small Vehicle path into the Large.

To really make sense of any of this would take a deep study and actual practice in both Small and Large Vehicle traditions, rather than merely engaging in theory without practice. The problem with that is, most Small Vehicle followers are simply not interested in the Large Vehicle because it doesn't speak to their needs, which is to uproot suffering through study and various practices. Speaking about suffering not really existing and the world being a fabrication of the mind to them sounds irrelevant to their present situation, because they haven't studied that stage before. It is said, those who can hear the Large Vehicle teachings and not become frightened or think that it is not the Buddha's true teachings, are those who have been through the stages of studying Small Vehicle before and have already studied Large Vehicle in past lives.

Note that this doesn't necessarily mean their wisdom or attainment is any greater, but simply that they have studied it before and have given rise to a faith in the teachings, perhaps based on a glimpse. So I'm not saying one vehicle is "better" than the other. It's all the same path ultimately.

Anyway, hope this helps clarify the position.

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Re: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Tue May 25, 2010 4:54 am

Dexing wrote:. . .Anyway, hope this helps clarify the position.
What it does clarify is that Mahayana really does not understand or address the Theravada. What you have presented is the usual Mahayana polemic against the supposed hinayana, a straw man construct.
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: The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravada

Postby Ben » Tue May 25, 2010 4:55 am

Dexing wrote:First of all, the Shravaka vehicle only deals with the illusion of personal selfhood, while the Mahayana — having covered this stage — begins to deal with the illusion of all phenomenal existence- something that is not even touched upon in classical teachings.

This is just so wrong.
"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


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