what is "esoteric buddhism"?

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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:40 am

Greetings Tilt,

I think that question is twofold. Before you ask whether "everything the Buddha says [is] true" you need to ask whether "everything in the scriptures was spoken by the Buddha".

Then, what level of scriptures do we include in that set... ranging from suttas, which are commonly accepted to be quite reliable, versus Jataka Stories at the other end of the scale, which are the subject of more scepticism. Plus all the stuff inbetween.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:47 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

I think that question is twofold. Before you ask whether "everything the Buddha says [is] true" you need to ask whether "everything in the scriptures was spoken by the Buddha".


That is a big part of it. If we go with a literal reading, then likely we must also go with an acceptance Pali canon being the Ipsissima verba of the Buddha.
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.

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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby Ben » Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:57 am

Hi Tilt, everyone

For me, it raises the question of whether one has the confidence that the Buddha was a truth teller. If that is so, then, what was truth dressed in metaphor and what parts of his message were to be taken at face value? And I guess for me, it doesn't really matter. I figure that if I practice the Noble EIghtfold Path then a lot of these issues, such as, whether the Abhidhamma really was expounded to Devas in Tavatimsa, whether a naga protected the Buddha under the Bodhi tree from the elements, etc, & etc, become extraneous to the main game of eradicating my defilements and aspiring to become ariyan.
Metta

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Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby vinasp » Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:09 am

Hi everyone,
As to the question - is everything the Buddha says true ? I think that the Buddha said on many occasions that one should not say something true if it would - in that situation - cause harm to someone. One must therefore deviate from the truth for a good reason. It seems that moral issues take precedence over truth. I presume the Buddha acted accordingly. That is why it is called right speech not true speech. I thought everyone here would know this already. I am very much enjoying this debate.
I hope no one is offended by anything. Kind regards, Vincent.
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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:24 am

vinasp wrote:the Buddha said on many occasions that one should not say something true if it would - in that situation - cause harm to someone. One must therefore deviate from the truth for a good reason.

I'm afraid I'm not as well read as I'd like to be. Do you have any sutta references for this so I can catch up? :)
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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby appicchato » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:27 am

tiltbillings wrote:You might get lucky.


In this case, I hope not... :heart:
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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby appicchato » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:36 am

vinasp wrote:I think that the Buddha said on many occasions that one should not say something true if it would - in that situation - cause harm to someone. One must therefore deviate from the truth for a good reason.


More a case of clamming up (Noble Silence) than 'deviating' from the truth...used on many occasions...


It seems that moral issues take precedence over truth.


Never...
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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby appicchato » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:45 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

appicchato wrote:We don't need to 'must' do anything...except die...


Even then... what about attaining the deathless?!


Hi Paul,

What about it?...while it's our aspiration, wouldn't considering it a 'must' possibly be construed as...as...craving?...
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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby vinasp » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:53 am

Hi mawkish1983,
The most complete exposition of what statements the Buddha would or would not make is found in the Abhayarajakumara Sutta ( M. 58 ) but it is complicated . The essense of it is that whether or not a statement is made depends not just on its truth but also whether it is usefull and pleasant , there are eight combinations in total. I am looking for a simpler account or some cases where this is taught by example. I remember there is a sutta where the Buddha meets Vacchagotta and does not teach the no-self doctrine ( even though it is true ) because Vacchagottas mind is too disturbed on that occasion. But this is really an example of refraining from teaching the truth which is not quite what we need.
Kind regards, Vincent.
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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:00 am

Greetings bhante,

appicchato wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

appicchato wrote:We don't need to 'must' do anything...except die...


Even then... what about attaining the deathless?!


Hi Paul,

What about it?...while it's our aspiration, wouldn't considering it a 'must' possibly be construed as...as...craving?...


I just meant that it wasn't a must in the sense of it being an inevitability.

They say that there's only two certainties in life... death and taxes... yet the arahant avoids both!

:buddha2:

Metta,
Paul. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby cooran » Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:22 am

vinasp wrote:Hi mawkish1983,
The most complete exposition of what statements the Buddha would or would not make is found in the Abhayarajakumara Sutta ( M. 58 ) but it is complicated . The essense of it is that whether or not a statement is made depends not just on its truth but also whether it is usefull and pleasant , there are eight combinations in total. I am looking for a simpler account or some cases where this is taught by example. I remember there is a sutta where the Buddha meets Vacchagotta and does not teach the no-self doctrine ( even though it is true ) because Vacchagottas mind is too disturbed on that occasion. But this is really an example of refraining from teaching the truth which is not quite what we need.
Kind regards, Vincent.

Hello Vincent,

The Buddha did not lie. He, like any skillful teacher, taught at the level his students could understand. This link below, with a compilation of his words on Right Speech may be helpful.

metta
Chris

1. EXPLANATION OF SAMMAVACA
2. NOBLE & IGNOBLE WAYS OF SPEAKING
3. TWO MODES OF SAMMAVACA: LOKIYA & LOKUTTARA
4. STANDARD FOR SCRUTINIZING "SPOKEN KARMA"
5. POINTS OF PRAISE & BLAME CONCERNING SAMMAVACA
6. ELABORATION OF THE FOUR SAMMAVACA
7. WELL-SPOKEN WORDS ARE SAMMAVACA
8. WELL-SPOKEN WORDS ARE SAMMAVACA
(another angle)
9. SPEECH OF NOBLE & IGNOBLE PERSONS
10. STANDARD OF HIGHEST SAMMAVACA
11. HIGHEST LEVEL OF SAMMAVACA (Buddha-level)
12. EXAMPLES OF FRIVOLOUS SPEECH IN TEACHERS
13. RESULTS OF WRONG SPEECH
SUTTA REFERENCES
1. EXPLANATION OF SAMMAVACA
2. NOBLE & IGNOBLE WAYS OF SPEAKING
3. TWO MODES OF SAMMAVACA: LOKIYA & LOKUTTARA
4. STANDARD FOR SCRUTINIZING "SPOKEN KARMA"
5. POINTS OF PRAISE & BLAME CONCERNING SAMMAVACA
6. ELABORATION OF THE FOUR SAMMAVACA
7. WELL-SPOKEN WORDS ARE SAMMAVACA
8. WELL-SPOKEN WORDS ARE SAMMAVACA
(another angle)
9. SPEECH OF NOBLE & IGNOBLE PERSONS
10. STANDARD OF HIGHEST SAMMAVACA
11. HIGHEST LEVEL OF SAMMAVACA (Buddha-level)
12. EXAMPLES OF FRIVOLOUS SPEECH IN TEACHERS
13. RESULTS OF WRONG SPEECH
SUTTA REFERENCES

http://www.suanmokkh.org/archive/rtspch1.htm
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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:26 am

retrofuturist wrote:I just meant that it wasn't a must in the sense of it being an inevitability.

They say that there's only two certainties in life... death and taxes... yet the arahant avoids both!


Hi Retro,
I think that may fall into the realm of no answerable!
Arahants still die whether they exist or not after is not something which I have seen explained in the suttas or anywhere exept it is an irrevelent question in the Buddhas eyes (according to the suttas)
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby Ben » Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:39 am

Chris wrote:The Buddha did not lie. He, like any skillful teacher, taught at the level his students could understand.


Excellent, Chris!
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby genkaku » Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:42 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,
What is "esoteric buddhism"? I believe the word esoteric is latin and means something like private in contrast to public.
So a buddhist teaching which was given only to selected individuals and never in public would be an esoteric teaching ?
Is this correct ? Are there other ways in which a teaching can be considered to be esoteric ? Are all buddhist teachings esoteric ?
Regards, Vincent.


Dear Vincent -- The Hindus, who probably have a better sense of humor than the Buddhists (at least on the surface), tell the tale of a student who went to his teacher to receive a mantram. The teacher told him the mantram, but then warned him that he should always keep it secret. "You must be careful," the teacher said. "If you reveal this teaching, the whole world would be saved."

The student, who didn't really understand his teacher's words, promptly went out to the village market place, gathered the village residents around him, and told them the teaching.

My two cents' worth on 'hidden' teachings is this: There can be no secrets in Buddhism. If there were secrets, that would imply limitation and Buddhism is not limited by anything whatsoever. Nevertheless, there are teachings which are not offered. This has nothing to do with creating a special club with special handshakes and rituals -- something a student might be dying to join. It has to do with the capacity of the student. In the same way that a child might see the wondrous results of a bullet hitting an unopened can of tomato juice and then long to shoot a rifle himself ... still, the ramifications of firearms are too poorly understood for an instructor to hand over a weapon.

Well, maybe that's a poor metaphor, but I think you get the drift. The interesting part about what may be 'withheld' in Buddhism is that, even if no one ever told you the deep, dark secrets, still, with practice, those 'secrets' would reveal themselves automatically, as surely as sunrise follows the night. And of course once they revealed themselves, whatever 'secrecy' they had once held would disappear.

Practice is the key.

FWIW.
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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby Jechbi » Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:35 pm

vinasp wrote:One must therefore deviate from the truth for a good reason. It seems that moral issues take precedence over truth. I presume the Buddha acted accordingly. That is why it is called right speech not true speech.

You might want to examine that viewpoint, Vincent.

Dhammanando wrote:From the Manorathapūraṇī:

    duve saccāni akkhāsi
    sambuddho vadataṃ varo
    sammutiṃ paramatthañca
    tatiyaṃ nupalabbhati


    The Awakened One, best of speakers,
    Spoke two kinds of truths:
    The conventional and the ultimate.
    A third truth does not obtain.

    tattha:
    saṅketavacanaṃ saccaṃ
    lokasammutikāraṇaṃ
    paramatthavacanaṃ saccaṃ
    dhammānaṃ tathalakkhaṇan ti


    Therein:
    The speech wherewith the world converses is true
    On account of its being agreed upon by the world.
    The speech which describes what is ultimate is also true,
    Through characterizing dhammas as they really are.

    tasmā vohārakusalassa
    lokanāthassa satthuno
    sammutiṃ voharantassa
    musāvādo na jāyatī ti


    Therefore, being skilled in common usage,
    False speech does not arise in the Teacher,
    Who is Lord of the World,
    When he speaks according to conventions.
    (Mn. i. 95)
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby BlackBird » Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:29 am

genkaku wrote:My two cents' worth on 'hidden' teachings is this: There can be no secrets in Buddhism. If there were secrets, that would imply limitation and Buddhism is not limited by anything whatsoever. Nevertheless, there are teachings which are not offered. This has nothing to do with creating a special club with special handshakes and rituals -- something a student might be dying to join. It has to do with the capacity of the student. In the same way that a child might see the wondrous results of a bullet hitting an unopened can of tomato juice and then long to shoot a rifle himself ... still, the ramifications of firearms are too poorly understood for an instructor to hand over a weapon.

Well, maybe that's a poor metaphor, but I think you get the drift.


I'd just like to nip in here and say I thought it was a good metaphor, and I am also enjoying very much reading your book, Genkaku.

Cheers
and I'll nip on out again so this topic doesn't derail :smile:

:anjali:
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby vinasp » Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:39 pm

Hi everyone,
I am not sure what to do at this point. I have just found even stronger evidence that the Buddha tells porkies.
Is anyone still following this thread ? Do you want to see this evidence ?
Several posters have made strong assertions of the kind : " The Buddha does not lie ". Are they just expressing their opinion, or are they telling me to shut up ? Several posters have suggested that I need to change my views . If I present this evidence are some people going to go bananas ?

Or can we have a calm rational enquiry here ? Please tell me what you think.
Regards, Vincent.
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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby BlackBird » Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:41 pm

Dear Vincent.

Nobody is telling you to shut up my friend, from what I've seen everyone is simply posting scriptual evidence that Buddhism is founded upon truth.

May you be well

:heart:
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby genkaku » Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:34 pm

Dear Vincent -- Gautama, if I am not mistaken, encouraged us all to investigate and find out. So, whether we work ourselves into a credulous dither about his "telling the truth" or "telling a lie," still, as those willing to follow a Buddhist path, we simply commit ourselves to finding out. It takes some courage, it takes some patience and it takes some doubt ... but that's what we do: Find out.

Just my two cents.
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Re: what is "esoteric buddhism"?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:35 pm

Hi Vincent,
A long time ago you wrote:
vinasp wrote: I actually started this thread in order to reveal ( in due course ) that Theravada teachings are in fact an esoteric system. ...

We're still waiting for you clarify what you mean...

Mike
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