Why did you choose Theravada?

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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Dec 26, 2009 10:09 am

PeterB wrote:But Tilt, all that "Buddha as Sun Myth " stuff is just so OLD.....and deeply deeply life suckingly tedious.
Well, yeah. The first place I read that stuff was in 1968 in the intro to The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law translated By H. Kern (1884), itself deeply deeply life suckingly tedious book.
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 did you choose Theravada?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Dec 26, 2009 11:00 am

Hi Peter
I believe that was a much later add on from the hindus who claimed he was an avatara of Vishnu, or which ever god it is, then others interpreted these sun-god ideas onto that! I have heard it claimed that the Buddha was born on the winter solstice, a claim I have only heard from those who look to zeitgist movies as the sharer of the truth on religion.
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: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Kare » Sat Dec 26, 2009 12:25 pm

Manapa wrote:Hi Peter
I believe that was a much later add on from the hindus who claimed he was an avatara of Vishnu, or which ever god it is, ...


Yes, I think it is Vishnu. I once read a hilarious funny explanation of how the Buddha "became" an avatar of Vishnu.

The hindus accused the buddhists of being atheists - which is not so far from the truth. The story then (from the hindu point of view) says that the buddhist atheists were so thoroughly depraved that they were totally beyond salvation. In fact, if they ever reached the hindu heaven they would cause havoc with their impertinent critical questions. Therefore Vishnu decided that all atheist demons had better be sent directly to hell. The question was only how to secure this. Then Vishnu hit upon a brilliant idea: Why not incarnate as a teacher to fool the atheists? OK, he then descended from heaven and incarnated as the Buddha, in order to attract the atheist demons and sweep the world for their evil influence, securing their direct course to hell, so that heaven could be reserved for the true believers.

So the hindu adoption of the Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu seems to be a not so very friendly gesture towards buddhism ... :lol:
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Dec 26, 2009 12:54 pm

Hi Kare,
I think Buddhism from the beginning falls between actually being completely gnostic, agnostic or a theistic tradition, but if I am going to hell I will at least have decent music, and the ability to remain calm while those mountains crush me.

Kare wrote:
Manapa wrote:Hi Peter
I believe that was a much later add on from the hindus who claimed he was an avatara of Vishnu, or which ever god it is, ...


Yes, I think it is Vishnu. I once read a hilarious funny explanation of how the Buddha "became" an avatar of Vishnu.

The hindus accused the buddhists of being atheists - which is not so far from the truth. The story then (from the hindu point of view) says that the buddhist atheists were so thoroughly depraved that they were totally beyond salvation. In fact, if they ever reached the hindu heaven they would cause havoc with their impertinent critical questions. Therefore Vishnu decided that all atheist demons had better be sent directly to hell. The question was only how to secure this. Then Vishnu hit upon a brilliant idea: Why not incarnate as a teacher to fool the atheists? OK, he then descended from heaven and incarnated as the Buddha, in order to attract the atheist demons and sweep the world for their evil influence, securing their direct course to hell, so that heaven could be reserved for the true believers.

So the hindu adoption of the Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu seems to be a not so very friendly gesture towards buddhism ... :lol:
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: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Cafael Dust » Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:14 pm

Anything that isn't found in the suttas, but especially the tri-kaya.

As for the "why?"... because such concepts are not found in the suttas and much of it makes a mockery of what is actually found in the suttas.


Hey Retrofuturist... well, I don't reject anything not in the sutras, because there's a lot of zen and various Mahayana works that seem very well done to me, but I'm with you on the final point.

When first reading Buddhist texts, as I've explained, I didn't know the difference between Theravada and Mahayana and it took me a long time to work it out.

Actually, it was the different qualities of the texts that necessitated I do so - I was just reading eclectically and began to wonder why some sutras were well written and seemed to describe what I was experiencing and other sutras were full of sound and fury and sectarian attacks and poop that smelled of sandalwood etc.

It was that division in content that lead me to realise that the Pali Canon was a different order of texts (not getting into the argument about legitimacy or what came first). So I never chose a tradition, I came to investigate Buddhism as a whole and the Pali Canon spoke for itself in its claims on my attention.
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Cafael Dust » Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:17 pm

Did the Buddha exist? Is reality consistent enough to make such questions valid?
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Kare » Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:11 pm

Cafael Dust wrote:Did the Buddha exist? Is reality consistent enough to make such questions valid?


At least historians seem to agree that the sources are good enough to give an affirmative answer. But, as it is said in a sutta, no matter whether a Tathagata comes forth in the world or not, the facts of dukkha, anicca etc. are clearly observable to anyone.

And if historians should prove that Gotama never existed, we still have the body of teachings, and someone must be the originator - so why not call him "Buddha"? :P

Which reminds me of the German professor who said: "The works of Homer are not created by Homer, but by another with the same name." :rofl:
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:28 pm

Kare wrote: [
Which reminds me of the German professor who said: "The works of Homer are not created by Homer, but by another with the same name."

Richard Gombrich states: "I have the greatest difficulty in accepting that the main edifice [of the Pali suttas] is not the
work of one genius."
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 did you choose Theravada?

Postby Cafael Dust » Sat Dec 26, 2009 4:39 pm

I'm not sure you follow my point. Why are we arguing about the illusion? Such an argument is fine for scholarship purposes, but it has no bearing on the path and shouldn't be attached to emotionally. Not saying that's what y'all are doing, but... well, not much else can be said, can it?
Not twice, not three times, not once,
the wheel is turning.
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby alan » Sat Dec 26, 2009 5:39 pm

Well Well! thought I'd kick up a little dust and see what happened. And dust there is! Perhaps enough to obscure the original question, which should have been posited this way:
What is it about Mahayana that you've rejected?
Thought that might break the rules; hence the title.

As for this debate about the Buddha's real existence... never thought I'd ever see the question.
How is it possible to be a Buddhist and not believe He actually existed? Baffles me. I'd consider it a given.
What do you think--new topic, or just drop the matter?
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Dec 26, 2009 5:55 pm

Archaeological evidence for the Buddha's existence:

1) The Edicts of Ashoka http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... _of_Ashoka
2) The fact that places mentioned in the Suttas, including the palace, etc. have been located (the ruins)

The Edicts of Ashoka were written only about 79 to 200 years after the parinibbana. Hard evidence, period, in my opinion.
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Dec 26, 2009 6:02 pm

alan wrote:Well Well! thought I'd kick up a little dust and see what happened. And dust there is! Perhaps enough to obscure the original question, which should have been posited this way:
What is it about Mahayana that you've rejected?
Thought that might break the rules; hence the title.


I didn't really reject anything from Mahayana so much, just a natural tendency to gravitate toward the 'orthodox.' When I studied and practiced other religions, I also gravitated toward (what I felt) was the original form, be it Sunni Islam, Orthodox Judaism, Samaritanism, Roman Catholicism, etc.

I see the Mahayana as a skillful means as the Buddha taught different techniques to different people based on their temperaments. For me, Theravada is best, but I feel that for others, Mahayana may be best.
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby alan » Sat Dec 26, 2009 6:30 pm

My college training in philosophy lead to only two good things. One, It was so unfulfilling I quit to go travel and look for the truth myself.
Two, it taught me to be tough on assumptions. Examine, analyze. Do a rational overview. Question and probe.
Don't accept it until you can explain it clearly to someone else.
This habit of mind does not make me popular at cocktail parties, but does sometimes reap fruit, if I keep at it.
Thanks for your responses! I really appreciate this forum.
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Kare » Sat Dec 26, 2009 7:02 pm

alan wrote:Well Well! thought I'd kick up a little dust and see what happened. And dust there is! Perhaps enough to obscure the original question, which should have been posited this way:
What is it about Mahayana that you've rejected?



I'm not sure 'rejected' is the right word, at least not for me. I first met buddhism through zen. I have meditated with zen friends, I have studied and translated mahayana texts by Shantideva and Vasubandhu, and I still have great respect for serious practicioners of the different mahayana schools. Still, when I found theravada, I soon discovered that this was closer to my heart and to my own way of thinking. Therefore it is not so much a matter of 'rejecting' this or that, but rather of following a way that I feel and see give results, and that also has a certain degree of historical autenticity. Other ways may be OK for other people, but since I can not cross the stream on more than one raft at the same time, I simply prefer the theravada raft - or rather one of the several theravada rafts (there are several rafts also inside theravada: jhana, vipassana, vinaya, etc.).
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby cooran » Sat Dec 26, 2009 8:24 pm

alan said:Well Well! thought I'd kick up a little dust and see what happened. And dust there is!


Yep - I was just going to post you a congratulatory message saying "Yaaaay alan! this is what you were looking for - and what you got so annoyed about when it didn't happen initially".

You should send Mr Pink and Mr Tilt a big Thank-you Card. :twothumbsup:

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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby pink_trike » Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:20 pm

Chris wrote:
alan said:Well Well! thought I'd kick up a little dust and see what happened. And dust there is!


Yep - I was just going to post you a congratulatory message saying "Yaaaay alan! this is what you were looking for - and what you got so annoyed about when it didn't happen initially".

You should send Mr Pink and Mr Tilt a big Thank-you Card. :twothumbsup:

with metta
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Aw...thanks, but Mr. Tilt should get all the credit. ;)
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

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---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Cafael Dust » Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:29 pm

To be frank, once practice is established, I think any alignment with a particular mental object like Theravada or Mahayana or Buddhism is like grasping at handfuls of seaweed while one's raft moves with the tide. That's not to say the traditions can't be practiced without identification.
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Dan74 » Sat Dec 26, 2009 11:46 pm

Regarding the Lotus Sutra if people are truly interested, it may be worthwhile to read the following (a letter by Hakuin, the great 18th Century Rinzai master):

http://www.terebess.hu/zen/hakuin1.html#8

The meaning may still be obscure, but perhaps one should not rush to reject it so hastily when it was held as the king of all sutras by people like Dogen and Hakuin, for example.

What occurs to me is that some passages, like those "flowery descriptions" are written in a deep samadhi, they are "ecstatic" rather than rational discourses. So they cannot be read in the same way as one reads for instance the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.

There is some material here if someone wants to do further study:

http://nichirenscoffeehouse.net/Ryuei/Zen-LS-8.html


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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 27, 2009 12:57 am

pink_trike wrote:Aw...thanks, but Mr. Tilt should get all the credit.

Oh, no. As has been pointed by another, it goes to you, hands down with your initial "increasingly" comment onwards. I simply asked for clarification and got turkeys.
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 did you choose Theravada?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 27, 2009 1:06 am

Dan74 wrote:
The meaning may still be obscure, but perhaps one should not rush to reject it so hastily when it was held as the king of all sutras by people like Dogen and Hakuin, for example.

This text, which introduced the term hinayana and put into the mouth of the Buddha the calling of those who do not agree with the Lotus garbage, may be the "king of sutras," but it has not a thing to say to the Theravada. In India the Lotus was not highly regarded within Mahayana circles.

If a person fails to have faith
but instead slanders this sutra,
...
The things he says
people will not believe,
the breath from his mouth will be constantly foul
...
If there are monks who,
for the sake of comprehensive wisdom,
seek the Law in every direction,
pressing palms together, gratefully accepting,
desiring only to accept and embrace
the sutra of the Great Vehicle
and
not accepting a single verse
of the other sutras
,
to persons such as this
it is permissible to preach it [the Lotus Sutra].
If a person, earnest in mind,
seeks this sutra
as though he were seeking the Buddha's relics,
and having gained and gratefully accepted it,
that person shows no intention
of seeking other sutras
and has never once given thought
to the writings of the non-Buddhist doctrines,
to a person such as this
it is permissible to preach it.


The Lotus Sutra Chapter 3
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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