Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Heavenstorm » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:16 pm

Guy wrote: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?


Simple answer, in Theravada, there is no big doubt as one could still become an Arahant although there are stories that the ex Bodhisattas' partners (or spouses) in their previous lives will appear and disturb them for backtracking on their original commitment.

In Mahayana, things are more serious because one have taken on additional vows. And when you break a vow, there are always negative consequences. Therefore, the more vows one have, the greater is the penalty if one backtrack on them.

However, there are a few exceptions. In some rare cases, whereby an inspired Bodhisattva undergo rebirth and forgets about his original vows in the previous life before taking on a Buddhist practice and enter the stream. He will not face any serious penalty since he does not break his vows consciously but do so due to ignorance and lack of accumulated aspiration. (Still there are Mahayana Sutras that spoke against this regression)
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:23 pm

Smoke and mirrors are smoke and mirrors. Once their nature is realised they can be discounted, unless you need to put your makeup on, or have a shave.In which case mirrors are useful. Its intention that creates Karma Vipaka, a sincere intention later seen as pertaining to something imaginary remains a sincere intention even after understanding has deepened.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:31 pm

Heavenstorm wrote:
In Mahayana, things are more serious because one have taken on additional vows. And when you break a vow, there are always negative consequences. Therefore, the more vows one have, the greater is the penalty if one backtrack on them.
Vow to whom? As for breaking a vow, it depends. Things change; one's insight may lead one into a differing direction than the supposed vow.
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: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Aloka » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:24 pm

Heavenstorm wrote:Simple answer, in Theravada, there is no big doubt as one could still become an Arahant although there are stories that the ex Bodhisattas' partners (or spouses) in their previous lives will appear and disturb them for backtracking on their original commitment.

In Mahayana, things are more serious because one have taken on additional vows. And when you break a vow, there are always negative consequences. Therefore, the more vows one have, the greater is the penalty if one backtrack on them.

However, there are a few exceptions. In some rare cases, whereby an inspired Bodhisattva undergo rebirth and forgets about his original vows in the previous life before taking on a Buddhist practice and enter the stream. He will not face any serious penalty since he does not break his vows consciously but do so due to ignorance and lack of accumulated aspiration. (Still there are Mahayana Sutras that spoke against this regression)



I really don't mean to be rude and disrespectful, but all of this business of rules, a punishment system and penalities in another life sounds like a minefield of fantasy and fundamentalism centred around eternal personal 'souls'.

I especially found this statement ironical.... "In some rare cases, whereby an inspired Bodhisattva undergo rebirth and forgets about his original vows in the previous life before taking on a Buddhist practice and enter the stream. He will not face any serious penalty since he does not break his vows consciously but do so due to ignorance and lack of accumulated aspiration." ....because when I privately asking a respected tulku if he could remember his past lives, he said "No".



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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Aloka » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:14 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

If you do that in Vajrayana, supposedly you end up in Vajra Hell.

Tantric Buddhists are in the position of a snake inside a bamboo tube; one hole faces up to the Dharmakaya, the other down toward Vajra Hell. There are only two options -- up or down; no in-between. Keeping samaya (commitment) determines which way the snake slides.


http://www.khandro.net/TibBud%20_vajrayana.htm

Metta,
Retro. :)



"Vajra Hell" is a mental state induced by fear. :smile:



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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Dan74 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:41 am

Aloka wrote:
Heavenstorm wrote:Simple answer, in Theravada, there is no big doubt as one could still become an Arahant although there are stories that the ex Bodhisattas' partners (or spouses) in their previous lives will appear and disturb them for backtracking on their original commitment.

In Mahayana, things are more serious because one have taken on additional vows. And when you break a vow, there are always negative consequences. Therefore, the more vows one have, the greater is the penalty if one backtrack on them.

However, there are a few exceptions. In some rare cases, whereby an inspired Bodhisattva undergo rebirth and forgets about his original vows in the previous life before taking on a Buddhist practice and enter the stream. He will not face any serious penalty since he does not break his vows consciously but do so due to ignorance and lack of accumulated aspiration. (Still there are Mahayana Sutras that spoke against this regression)



I really don't mean to be rude and disrespectful, but all of this business of rules, a punishment system and penalities in another life sounds like a minefield of fantasy and fundamentalism centred around eternal personal 'souls'.

:anjali:


Yes, it kind of does, doesn't it?

I haven't come across any teachers talking this up at all. But here on the web, one sees all sort of scary things...

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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:16 am

Aloka wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

If you do that in Vajrayana, supposedly you end up in Vajra Hell.

Tantric Buddhists are in the position of a snake inside a bamboo tube; one hole faces up to the Dharmakaya, the other down toward Vajra Hell. There are only two options -- up or down; no in-between. Keeping samaya (commitment) determines which way the snake slides.


http://www.khandro.net/TibBud%20_vajrayana.htm

Metta,
Retro. :)



"Vajra Hell" is a mental state induced by fear. :smile:
Surely then the remedy is to not get involved in systems that reinforce the possibility :?:


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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Aloka » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:24 am

But here on the web, one sees all sort of scary things...


Agreed, Dan !

A further comment after my remark about Vajra Hell is that the different realms can be interpreted as ever changing mental states...for example we can even be in several realms mentally in the course of one day due to fluctuating thoughts and emotions.
For Mahayana practitioners who require teacher input about these things, I can add that a Tibetan teacher verified the interpretation of 'mental states' regarding different realms.

Luckily Theravada doesn't have the added complications of 'Vajra Hell' ! :)


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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Aloka » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:27 am

Surely then the remedy is to not get involved in systems that reinforce the possibility




Wise words.


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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:42 am

Aloka wrote:
But here on the web, one sees all sort of scary things...


Agreed, Dan !

A further comment after my remark about Vajra Hell is that the different realms can be interpreted as ever changing mental states...for example we can even be in several realms mentally in the course of one day due to fluctuating thoughts and emotions.
For Mahayana practitioners who require teacher input about these things, I can add that a Tibetan teacher verified the interpretation of 'mental states' regarding different realms.

Luckily Theravada doesn't have the added complications of 'Vajra Hell' ! :)


:anjali:

There are Theravada practitioners who see the hell realms as symbolic of mental states. Which in my view is reductionist, but is a option.
I know no Theravadins who see hell realms whether symbolic or actual as the outcome for those who simply change their mind on a point of doctrine. Or who grow disenchanted with a particular teacher.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Anders » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:19 am

tiltbillings wrote:Accoring to the lengthy discussions of this question I have seen elsewhere, forsaking the Mahayana bodhisattva vow is likely to be seen as big bad news with big bad consequences, which are even worse if you are a Vajrayana practitioner.


The typical view in the sutras and from guys like Nagarjuna is that bodhisattvas who abandon their vows run the risc of 'slipping' into cessation. I can imagine worse fates than that (but then again, this probably also reflects the assumed benchmark of practitioners in such sutras - not sure what it might entail for those where cessation is not an option present on the table).
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:24 am

Anders Honore wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Accoring to the lengthy discussions of this question I have seen elsewhere, forsaking the Mahayana bodhisattva vow is likely to be seen as big bad news with big bad consequences, which are even worse if you are a Vajrayana practitioner.


The typical view in the sutras and from guys like Nagarjuna is that bodhisattvas who abandon their vows run the risc of 'slipping' into cessation. I can imagine worse fates than that (but then again, this probably also reflects the assumed benchmark of practitioners in such sutras - not sure what it might entail for those where cessation is not an option present on the table).
It depends upon what is meant by cessation. Again, it is very likely, he understated, that what is generally meant by cessation for the Mahayana is quite different than what is meant by cessation for the Theravada.
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: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Anders » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:57 am

In Nagarjuna's case, actually not very likely. That way of looking at cessation is more typical of later stratas of mahayana. The Lotus sutra is the first to allow for this possibility and Nagarjuna's bodhisambhara actually takes pain to say that the arhats in that sutra were a 'special case' and that one should not generalise this to all arhats.
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Heavenstorm » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:35 pm

Vow to whom?.


To Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. From my understanding, its a ceremony thingy in which the practitioners will visualize the Arya beings in front of them and voice out and repeat the vows three times in front of them. And usually a Mahayana master will take charge of the ceremony. But since they are not the real physical Buddhas or Bodhisattvas, the whole issue is still open to debate till today.

Aloka wrote:I really don't mean to be rude and disrespectful, but all of this business of rules, a punishment system and penalities in another life sounds like a minefield of fantasy and fundamentalism centred around eternal personal 'souls'.


Not really, its like breaking precepts in Theravada and both incur negative karma. The Bodhisattva vows in Mahayana function like precepts to them. In fact, according to some Mahayana masters, backtracking on the vows is like deceiving all the Buddhas and Bodhisattva that the practitioners took the vows from.

Or else, where do you think the idea of "Vajra Hell" come from?

Karmic rewards and debts are carried from one life into another. Again this is karma 101 and got nothing to do with personal "souls". If you believe that all your bad karmas are going to get ripened in this life, then I'm afraid to say that you are sorely mistaken.

I especially found this statement ironical.... "In some rare cases, whereby an inspired Bodhisattva undergo rebirth and forgets about his original vows in the previous life before taking on a Buddhist practice and enter the stream. He will not face any serious penalty since he does not break his vows consciously but do so due to ignorance and lack of accumulated aspiration." ....because when I privately asking a respected tulku if he could remember his past lives, he said "No".
:anjali:


Most of people don't remember their past lives and this is what makes Bodhisattva path so hard. There are risks that the Bodhisattvas hopefuls will deviate from their original intentions.

I haven't come across any teachers talking this up at all. But here on the web, one sees all sort of scary things...


They probably don't want to scare you people, its one of the skillful means.
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:43 pm

Heavenstorm wrote:
Vow to whom?.


To Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. From my understanding, its a ceremony thingy in which the practitioners will visualize the Arya beings in front of them and voice out and repeat the vows three times in front of them. And usually a Mahayana master will take charge of the ceremony. But since they are not the real physical Buddhas or Bodhisattvas, the whole issue is still open to debate till today.
Kinda.

Not really, its like breaking precepts in Theravada and both incur negative karma. The Bodhisattva vows in Mahayana function like precepts to them. In fact, according to some Mahayana masters, backtracking on the vows is like deceiving all the Buddhas and Bodhisattva that the practitioners took the vows from.
If one believes in such things.


They probably don't want to scare you people, its one of the skillful means.

Threats of hell are meant to scare.
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: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Heavenstorm » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:46 pm

Aloka wrote:
But here on the web, one sees all sort of scary things...


A further comment after my remark about Vajra Hell is that the different realms can be interpreted as ever changing mental states...for example we can even be in several realms mentally in the course of one day due to fluctuating thoughts and emotions.
For Mahayana practitioners who require teacher input about these things, I can add that a Tibetan teacher verified the interpretation of 'mental states' regarding different realms.


Not really, they have a mental explanation but they also have another literal explanation. Believe me, at first, I too thought that vajra hell is just a scary tactics adopted by the past Mahayana masters to use on their disciples. But after getting confirmation from many of them on the literal interpretation, I guess its better for those practitioners to stay on the "safe side".


If one believes in such things.


In our forum, there are already some.

Threats of hell are meant to scare.


Yeah but unfortunately, not many modern Buddhists believe in hell. They prefer to see it as metaphor.
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Aloka » Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:10 pm

Hi Heavenstorm.

Just to clarify, I was interested in reading what you had to say but perhaps I should mention that I am an offline Vajrayana practitioner of many years, currently very interested in learning more about Theravada.

Actually I don't feel fear or speculate about if I will go to the Hell Realms because I'm more concerned with trying to be mindful with the present moment.

If you believe that all your bad karmas are going to get ripened in this life, then I'm afraid to say that you are sorely mistaken.


Wow, you have special powers and you see my life, all my "bad Karmas" ... and my future life too, in order to make this judgement do you ? Gimme a break.




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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Heavenstorm » Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:21 pm

Aloka wrote:Just to clarify, I was interested in reading what you had to say but perhaps I should mention that I am an offline Vajrayana practitioner of many years, currently very interested in learning more about Theravada.

Actually I don't feel fear or speculate about if I will go to the Hell Realms because I'm more concerned with trying to be mindful with the present moment.


Then good for you, I don't really care nor interested.

If you believe that all your bad karmas are going to get ripened in this life, then I'm afraid to say that you are sorely mistaken.


Wow, you have special powers and you see my life "all my bad Karmas " and my future life, in order to make this judgement do you ? Gimme a break.


:roll: Whatever. The problem with internet nowadays, people don't really bother to read properly before they post.
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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Aloka » Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:32 pm

I'm sorry if you think I have misunderstood your posts, Heavenstorm.

However I'm keen not to become a brainwashed parrot concerning these matters.

Thank you for the interaction and many good wishes to you.

Kind regards,

Aloka


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Re: Renouncing Bodhisatta Vows

Postby Heavenstorm » Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:41 pm

Aloka wrote:However I'm keen not to become a brainwashed parrot concerning these matters.


Neither am I. I'm just like to present the opposite side of the argument for the sake of completeness. People finding them hard to believe are always felt free to discount them.
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