Where is the Buddha?

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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
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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

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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
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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.
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Re: Where is the Buddha?

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

SN44.4 wrote:Sariputta-Kotthita Sutta: Sariputta and Kotthita
On one occasion Ven. Sariputta and Ven. Maha Kotthita were staying near Varanasi in the Game Refuge at Isipatana. Then in the evening, Ven. Maha Kotthita emerged from his seclusion and went to Ven. Sariputta and exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to Ven. Sariputta, "Now then, friend Sariputta, does the Tathagata exist after death?"

"That, friend, has not been declared by the Blessed One: 'The Tathagata exists after death.'"

"Well then, friend Sariputta, does the Tathagata not exist after death?"

"Friend, that too has not been declared by the Blessed One: 'The Tathagata does not exist after death.'"

"Then does the Tathagata both exist and not exist after death?"

"That has not been declared by the Blessed One: 'The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death.'"

"Well then, does the Tathagata neither exist nor not exist after death?"

"That too has not been declared by the Blessed One: 'The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.'"

"Now, friend Sariputta, when asked if the Tathagata exists after death, you say, 'That has not been declared by the Blessed One: "The Tathagata exists after death."' When asked if the Tathagata does not exist after death... both exists and does not exist after death... neither exists nor does not exist after death, you say, 'That too has not been declared by the Blessed One: "The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death."' Now, what is the cause, what is the reason, why that has not been declared by the Blessed One?"

"For one who does not know & see form as it actually is present, who does not know & see the origination of form... the cessation of form... the path of practice leading to the cessation of form, as it actually is present, there occurs the thought, 'The Tathagata exists after death' or 'The Tathagata does not exist after death' or 'The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death' or 'The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.'

"For one who does not know & see feeling as it actually is present...

"For one who does not know & see perception as it actually is present...

"For one who does not know & see fabrications as they actually are present...

"For one who does not know & see consciousness as it actually is present, who does not know & see the origination of consciousness... the cessation of consciousness... the path of practice leading to the cessation of consciousness, as it actually is present, there occurs the thought, 'The Tathagata exists after death' or 'The Tathagata does not exist after death' or 'The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death' or 'The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.'

"But for one who knows & sees form as it actually is present, who knows & sees the origination of form... the cessation of form... the path of practice leading to the cessation of form, as it actually is present, the thought, 'The Tathagata exists after death' or 'The Tathagata does not exist after death' or 'The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death' or 'The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death' doesn't occur.

"For one who knows & sees feeling as it actually is present...

"For one who knows & sees perception as it actually is present...

"For one who knows & sees fabrications as they actually are present...

"For one who knows & sees consciousness as it actually is present, who knows & sees the origination of consciousness... the cessation of consciousness... the path of practice leading to the cessation of consciousness, as it actually is present, the thought, 'The Tathagata exists after death' or 'The Tathagata does not exist after death' or 'The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death' or 'The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death' doesn't occur.

"This is the cause, this is the reason, why that has not been declared by the Blessed One."

SN 22.86 wrote:Anuradha Sutta: To Anuradha
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Vesali, in the Great Wood, at the Hall of the Gabled Pavilion. At that time Ven. Anuradha was staying not far from the Blessed One in a wilderness hut.

Then a large number of wandering sectarians went to Ven. Anuradha and on arrival exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, they sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they said to Ven. Anuradha, "Friend Anuradha, the Tathagata — the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment — being described, is described with [one of] these four positions: The Tathagata exists after death, does not exist after death, both does & does not exist after death, neither exists nor does not exist after death."

When this was said, Ven. Anuradha said to the wandering sectarians, "Friends, the Tathagata — the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment — being described, is described otherwise than with these four positions: The Tathagata exists after death, does not exist after death, both does & does not exist after death, neither exists nor does not exist after death."

When this was said, the wandering sectarians said to Ven. Anuradha, "This monk is either a newcomer, not long gone forth, or else an elder who is foolish & inexperienced." So the wandering sectarians, addressing Ven. Anuradha as they would a newcomer or a fool, got up from their seats and left.

Then not long after the wandering sectarians had left, this thought occurred to Ven. Anuradha: "If I am questioned again by those wandering sectarians, how will I answer in such a way that will I speak in line with what the Blessed One has said, will not misrepresent the Blessed One with what is unfactual, will answer in line with the Dhamma, so that no one whose thinking is in line with the Dhamma will have grounds for criticizing me?"

Then Ven. Anuradha went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Just now I was staying not far from the Blessed One in a wilderness hut. Then a large number of wandering sectarians came and... said to me, 'Friend Anuradha, the Tathagata — the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment — being described, is described with [one of] these four positions: The Tathagata exists after death, does not exist after death, both does & does not exist after death, neither exists nor does not exist after death.'

"When this was said, I said to them, 'Friends, the Tathagata — the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment — being described, is described otherwise than with these four positions: The Tathagata exists after death, does not exist after death, both does & does not exist after death, neither exists nor does not exist after death.'

"When this was said, the wandering sectarians said to me, 'This monk is either a newcomer, not long gone forth, or else an elder who is foolish & inexperienced.' So, addressing me as they would a newcomer or a fool, they got up from their seats and left.

"Then not long after the wandering sectarians had left, this thought occurred to me: 'If I am questioned again by those wandering sectarians, how will I answer in such a way that will I speak in line with what the Blessed One has said, will not misrepresent the Blessed One with what is unfactual, will answer in line with the Dhamma, and no one whose thinking is in line with the Dhamma will have grounds for criticizing me?'"

"What do you think, Anuradha: Is form constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it proper to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"Is feeling constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."...

"Is perception constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."...

"Are fabrications constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."...

"Is consciousness constant or inconstant?

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it proper to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"What do you think, Anuradha: Do you regard form as the Tathagata?"

"No, lord."

"Do you regard feeling as the Tathagata?"

"No, lord."

"Do you regard perception as the Tathagata?"

"No, lord."

"Do you regard fabrications as the Tathagata?"

"No, lord."

"Do you regard consciousness as the Tathagata?"

"No, lord."

"What do you think, Anuradha: Do you regard the Tathagata as being in form?... Elsewhere than form?... In feeling?... Elsewhere than feeling?... In perception?... Elsewhere than perception?... In fabrications?... Elsewhere than fabrications?... In consciousness?... Elsewhere than consciousness?"

"No, lord."

"What do you think: Do you regard the Tathagata as form-feeling-perception-fabrications-consciousness?"

"No, lord."

"Do you regard the Tathagata as that which is without form, without feeling, without perception, without fabrications, without consciousness?"

"No, lord."

"And so, Anuradha — when you can't pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life — is it proper for you to declare, 'Friends, the Tathagata — the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment — being described, is described otherwise than with these four positions: The Tathagata exists after death, does not exist after death, both does & does not exist after death, neither exists nor does not exist after death'?"

"No, lord."

"Very good, Anuradha. Very good. Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress."

I'm sorry for just posting the two suttas, but I consider them the best answer I could give.
best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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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
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Re: Where is the Buddha?

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

theravada_guy wrote:Greetings all,
"The Buddha is dead so He can't really help you."


Expecting something powerful from outside to come and help you is religion for the immature in my opinion.

The Buddha said in his last days that we should be a lamp to ourselves (or something along those lines, maybe somebody can quote it). There is no notion of him setting himself up as a crutch for us or making himself out to be something eternal, something not human. He gave us the tools now it's up to us, this is precisely one of the things that sets Theravada Buddhism apart from religion in general.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Where is the Buddha?

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

Goofaholix wrote:
theravada_guy wrote:Greetings all,
"The Buddha is dead so He can't really help you."
The Buddha said in his last days that we should be a lamp to ourselves (or something along those lines, maybe somebody can quote it).

I think it's this one
Maha-parinibbana Sutta DN16:
Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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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

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Re: Where is the Buddha?

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

pink_trike wrote: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.

What "mythical construct?"

We're on our own...just like "the Buddha" said.
Yeah. Nothing new with that. We are on are own witrh his teachings as a guide, 'just like "the Buddha" said.'
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: Where is the Buddha?

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

pink_trike wrote: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:

(emphasis added)
evidence?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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"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: 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?
-----------------------
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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. :)
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: Where is the Buddha?

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

retrofuturist wrote: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. :)


That one's on my list of books to acquire.
With metta,

Justin
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Re: Where is the Buddha?

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

retrofuturist wrote: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. :)
mine to!
I have borrowed that book from a friend but not got round to reading it yet
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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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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