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Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows - Dhamma Wheel

Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Guy
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Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Guy » Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:33 am

Hello All,

Another thread made me wonder, what are the Theravada and/or Mahayana views on someone who renounces the path of a Bodhisatta in order to practice for Arahantship. Is this mentioned at all in the Suttas of either tradition?

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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retrofuturist
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:46 am

"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

Reductor
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Reductor » Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:59 am


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Dan74
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Dan74 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:02 am

_/|\_

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tiltbillings
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:20 am


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Dan74
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Dan74 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:32 am

Maybe he did teach it... :shrug:

Whether the apocryphal Jataka takes or many examples of the Buddha's life, he certainly embodied compassion and concern for others. This seems to be a far cry from the stereotypical modern Theravada monk described by Ven Dhammika for example.

After all the practical significance of the vows is to set a selfless course from the outset. At least that's what I understand and this appears to be largely the justification for their historical importance - monks were becoming too arrogant and self-centered (according to Mahayana texts promoting the path of the Bodhisattva).

But I might be getting it all wrong... (wouldn't be the first time)

_/|\_
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Paññāsikhara
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:55 am

Even in late commentarial Theravada literature, there are three "bodhisatta paths", one towards savaka-bodhi, one for paccekabuddha-bodhi, and another for sammasambuddha-bodhi.

Also, in Theravada literature from beginning to end, the term "arahat" is used to describe any of these three, eg. the sammasambuddha is also an arhat.

So, we may wish to clarify questions like "someone who renounces the path of a Bodhisatta in order to practice for Arahantship". Technically, without specifying which type of bodhisatta or which type of arahant, this is a flat out contradiction! ie. all liberated beings are arahants, and all of them practiced some form of bodhisatta path.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:16 am


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BlackBird
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby BlackBird » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:24 am

I have a question. What causes someone to choose the Paccekabuddha path? What does one gain by striving to be a Paccekabuddha if the end result of Nibbana is the same as if one had pursued the path to arahantship?

metta
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"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." -

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Dan74
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Dan74 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:32 am

Tilt you make some points that I will have to return to later after some thought and research. As regards contrasting Theravada and Mahayana monks, this was neither explicitly nor implicitly in what I wrote. Mahayana monks have their share of issues and challenges, no doubt.

That a certain deep kind of selfishness has crept in is evident not just through Ven Dhammika's criticism and not just in Theravada, but through many signs. Heard of many Buddhists NGO's? Quakers, that tiny little group is responsible for setting up Greenpeace, Amnesty International and countless relief initiatives worldwide. What have we done? "Engaged Buddhism" is a kind of an oxymoron, isnt it, in spite of good Thay's trying.

My point above was to show that a strong intention (Bodhisattva vow) was intended to set a positive direction. To what extent this has succeeded and whether as a result Mahayana monks are more selfless than Theravada monks, not only I don't know, I would even touch that!

I know I value the vows and they are meaningful to me. That's all (after all the unnecessary speculation is swept aside).

_/|\_
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tiltbillings
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:37 am


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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:38 am

"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

Paññāsikhara
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:46 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

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Dan74
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Dan74 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:57 am

Last edited by Dan74 on Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
_/|\_

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Guy
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Guy » Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:08 pm

Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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tiltbillings
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:20 pm


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Dan74
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Dan74 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:24 pm

This hypothetical doesn't quite make sense to me, because I see these vows as actually beneficial for practice and realization, since they strike at the root of attachment to the self and its priorities (eg "getting rid of suffering"). It's a kind of a paradox I've also heard from Thai Forest teachers - embracing suffering, one puts an end to it. Letting go of one's concern for liberation in favour of the liberation of everybody else, one brings it closer.

As for delaying nirvana, this interpretation of the vows is just one interpretation, and one that doesn't completely make sense to me (and is also rejected by most Vajrayana people).

Then on the other hand I've heard a teacher share that in the course of meditation the vow came back and barred the entry (or rather the exit), so to speak. So it varies.

[Edit: If you make explicit vows to keep getting reborn in order to be of assistance to other beings, well in order to pull all that off I imagine you'd already have to be very close to Buddhahood, but I wouldn't like to speculate on the actual workings of all that).]

I've done some work in prisons and my wife works with people with disabilities, so this amazing good fortune that we have is something I don't want to take for granted. Striving just for my own sake strikes me as kind of insensitive and even a bit pointless (I am an extrovert). This is the meaning of the Vows for me (No, Tilt, I am not saying Theravada practitioners practice only for themselves (I have no idea of other people's motivation), I am just talking about my practice :group: )

_/|\_
Last edited by Dan74 on Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
_/|\_

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tiltbillings
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:29 pm


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Dan74
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Dan74 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:32 pm

Yes, of course.
_/|\_

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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:34 pm

The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.


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