Where is the Buddha?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
User avatar
theravada_guy
Posts: 208
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:06 am

Where is the Buddha?

Postby theravada_guy » Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:28 am

Greetings all,

I was reading a book that was a critique of fundamentalist Christianity. It is called "Beyond Belief" and I'm sure many of you have at least seen it online. In the section where it has how to answer questions from evangelicals, one of the questions is "The Buddha is dead so He can't really help you." The book says to answer "He isn't dead, He has attained Nibbana." I know He is called the Deathless One. So, if He really isn't dead, but just in Nibbana, I guess we shouldn't ever refer to Him as 'dead'? I generally say "passed on" to non-Buddhists. Maybe that is even wrong to say, technically. So, where is the Buddha?

As a side note, I'm pretty new to Buddhism. I originally found Buddhism when I was a teenager, but didn't really understand it. I took Refuge, but again, didn't really know what I was doing. What I practiced was patently absurd. It was a combination of Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. I read books from all the three schools and tried to combine them. I didn't know there was such a big difference between them all back then. This was back when I was a teenager, with many things going on in my life. I was pretty confused at the time. I'm almost 26 now and have taken Refuge and actually know what I'm doing this time. And, there's no combining things. I'm strictly Theravada. I hope there is no blame on me. I know Buddhism doesn't have a real clear cut policy on apostasy. I guess I just finally figured out where I belong, and it's Theravada Buddhism. And, yes, I've read the apostasy thread on here and the quotes form the Tipitaka. I was just afraid to post this in public. I guess the beans are out now.
With metta,

Justin

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Where is the Buddha?

Postby Ben » Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:47 am

Hi Justin

The Buddha continues to help us through his teachings, the Dhamma. However, it is up to us to apply those teachings.
Where is the Buddha? Well I take a pragmatic approach. Since he died over 2,500 years ago - he has definitely passed on.
This may differ from variants of Mahayana and Vajrayana that the Buddha continues to exist in some rarified Buddha-loka for want of a better word.
metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8502
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Where is the Buddha?

Postby cooran » Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:06 am

Hello theravada_guy, all,

This is the answer that the Buddha gave:
What Buddhists Believe ~ by Dr. K. Sri. Dhammananda
CH. 3 After the Buddha Does the Buddha Exist after His Death?
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/wh ... iev/41.htm

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

Kenshou
Posts: 1030
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Where is the Buddha?

Postby Kenshou » Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:51 am

Was the Buddha really any more than a pile of khandhas/aggregates, just like the rest of us? In reality there never was anything called a Buddha. That particular set of aggregates we called Siddharta the Buddha was able to release the craving and delusion that bonded it to continued becoming and continued dukkha, and lucky for us, the depth of knowledge and understanding in that bundle of khandhas was enough that during the time it had left to naturally persist until it's final unbinding, it was able to teach the path to that unbinding to other beings still wandering in samsara.

But in reality, there never was a Buddha. Just like in this moment, there is no "me" or "you", no computer and no keyboard. It's all anatta, all anicca. (as well as dukkha) Just the continual changing flow of conditioned things. Though the direct knowledge of this is what allows one to be unbound and to "be" what we call a Buddha, in reality there is nothing of the sort. It's not that there is nothing, it's just that as soon as you label it, you're missing the target. This applies to Buddhas as well as to everything else. You can't -really- say that it is born or dies, because it never -was- in the first place.

At least, this is how I think of it, maybe it's a little Madhyamaka-ish, but this is a subject which that school seems to be good at talking about, I think.

User avatar
acinteyyo
Posts: 1684
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Bavaria / Germany

Re: Where is the Buddha?

Postby acinteyyo » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:33 pm

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

User avatar
theravada_guy
Posts: 208
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:06 am

Re: Where is the Buddha?

Postby theravada_guy » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:54 pm

Greetings acinteyyo,

It was an excellent answer, indeed! Thanks!

Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu!
With metta,

Justin

User avatar
Goofaholix
Posts: 2928
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Where is the Buddha?

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:20 am


User avatar
acinteyyo
Posts: 1684
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Bavaria / Germany

Re: Where is the Buddha?

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:28 am

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

User avatar
pink_trike
Posts: 1130
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am
Contact:

Re: Where is the Buddha?

Postby pink_trike » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:47 am

SId is long dead. And the literary construct that was misinterpreted and became known as the mythical "The Buddha" of current Buddhism is also dead. In the same way that "God is dead". We're on our own...just like "the Buddha" said. :tongue:
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23012
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Where is the Buddha?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:53 am


User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6524
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Where is the Buddha?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:01 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

Bankei
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:40 am

Re: Where is the Buddha?

Postby Bankei » Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:33 am

I think there are a lot of myths in the story of the Buddha. Stories grow as time progresses. As an example look at the myths surrounding the life of Ajahn Man, the famous thai 'forest' monk. Man only died about 40 years ago, yet the stories are impressive. Imagine how much more so to someone more famous who died 2500+ years ago.

eg,
Was Siddhartha a prince?
Did he really go to the Tushita heaven to teach his mother?
-----------------------
Bankei

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 17855
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Where is the Buddha?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:28 pm

Greetings Bankei,

In my mind, that's why I would give credence to what the Pali Canon says about him, over what later non-canonical sources say. To that end, Nanamoli's "The Life Of The Buddha: According To The Pali Canon" is a splendid book.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

User avatar
theravada_guy
Posts: 208
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:06 am

Re: Where is the Buddha?

Postby theravada_guy » Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:05 am

With metta,

Justin

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6524
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Where is the Buddha?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:28 am



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.


Return to “Connections to Other Paths”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine