Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

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Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby cooran » Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:38 am

Hello all,

Came across this and thought it may be of interest:

Message from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

<The history of the development of Buddhist literature seems to be marked by periods in which the received teachings and established scriptures are assimilated and consolidated and periods of mature creativity when the essence of that transmission is expressed afresh. Bhadantaacariya Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga is a classic text of the latter type. It represents the epitome of the Pali literature, weaving together its many strands to create this wonderful meditation manual, which even today retains the clarity it revealed when it was written.
These are occasions when people like to make much of the supposed differences in the various traditions of Buddhism that have evolved in different times and places. What I find especially encouraging about a book such as this is that it shows so clearly how much all schools of Buddhism have fundamentally in common. Within a structure based on the traditional three trainings of ethical discipline, concentration and wisdom are detailed instructions on how to take an ethical approach to life, how to meditate and calm the mind, and on the basis of those how to develop a correct understanding of reality. We find practical advice about creating an appropriate environment for meditation, the importance of developing love and compassion, and discussion of dependent origination that underlies the Buddhist view of reality. The very title of the work, the Path of Purification, refers to the essential Buddhist understanding of the basic nature of the mind as clear and aware, unobstructured by disturbing emotions. This quality is possessed by all sentient beings which all may realize if we pursue such a path.
Sometimes I am asked whether Buddhism is suitable for Westerners or not. I believe that the essence of all religions deal with basic human problems and Buddhism is no exception. As long as we continue to experience the basic human sufferings of birth, disease, old age, and death, there is no question whether it is suitable or not as a remedy. Inner peace is the key. In that state of mind you can face difficulties with calm and reason. The teachings of love, kindness and tolerance, the conduct of non-violence, and especially the Buddhist theory that all things are relative can be a source of that inner peace.
While the essence of Buddhism does not change, superficial cultural aspects will change. But how they will change in a particular place, we cannot say. This evolves over time. When Buddhism first came from India to countries like Sri lanka or Tibet, it gradually evolved, and in time a unique tradition arose. This is also happening in the West, and gradually Buddhism may evolve with Western culture.
Of course, what distinguishes the contemporary situation from past transmissons of Buddhism is that almost the entire array of traditions that evolved elsewhere are now accessible to anyone who is interested. And it is in such a context that I welcome this new edition of Bhikkhu ~Naa.namoli's celebrated English translation of the Path of Purification. I offer my prayers that readers, wherever they are, may find in it advice and inspiration to develop that inner peace that will contribute to creating a happier and more peaceful world.>
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... sage/35752

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
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Re: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby Ben » Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:46 am

Thanks Chris
When did His Holiness write the above?
kind regards

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

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:46 am

:anjali:
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.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.
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Re: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby cooran » Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:11 am

Hello Ben,

Nina van Gorkom put the quote in a post on Dhammastudy List onThu Aug 26, 2004 (link above). I found it when I was browsing for info for the Jhanas in the Visuddimagga thread. :smile:

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 ---
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Re: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:18 am

Thanks Cooran for the interesting post.

I had noticed that B. Alan Wallace refers to the Visuddhimagga quite a lot in his books and talks.
In the second of these two interviews (numbers 62 and/or 63) about the Shamatha Project here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/BuddhistGeeksPodcast he specifically compares Tibetan Shamatha and the Visuddhimaga Jhanas.

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Re: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:32 am

cooran wrote:Hello all,

Came across this and thought it may be of interest:

Message from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. . . .

It really does not say much.
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: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby Ben » Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:49 am

Hi Tilt

Well, you're right. But none the less, it is still interesting that he did say something about the Vism.

Hi Chris

I knew you got it from DSG, I was just interested in the provenance of the article and the circumstances of its origin.
If that is unknowable at this point - don't worry about it. its probably the archivist in me that is expressing itself.
Kind regards

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

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:50 am

mikenz66 wrote:Thanks Cooran for the interesting post.

I had noticed that B. Alan Wallace refers to the Visuddhimagga quite a lot in his books and talks.
In the second of these two interviews (numbers 62 and/or 63) about the Shamatha Project here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/BuddhistGeeksPodcast he specifically compares Tibetan Shamatha and the Visuddhimaga Jhanas.

Metta
Mike

Here is Wallace's broadside against vipassana practice: http://www.tricycle.com/a-mindful-balance

I am not impressed.
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: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:52 am

Ben wrote:Hi Tilt

Well, you're right. But none the less, it is still interesting that he did say something about the Vism.


He says all sorts of things about all sorts of things. Don't get me wrong I like and admire the DL, but I wonder if he read the book, or any number of books he has written forwards to.
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: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby Ben » Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:58 am

Hi Tilt
I wonder if that (Wallace's) article was written before his "An attention revolution". My wife brought home his An attention revolution from the "Mind and its potential" conference in Sydney earlier this year. It is predominantly focused on tibetan shmatha. Despite his glowing appraisal by his peers I found it a real disappointment. Couldn't get over the constant belittling of Theravada practice.
Anyway...
kind regards

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

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:00 am

Hmm, I guess it's the Jhana chapters of the Visuddhimagga that Wallace agrees with in what I've read and listened to...

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Re: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:03 am

Ben wrote:Hi Tilt
I wonder if that (Wallace's) article was written before his "An attention revolution". My wife brought home his An attention revolution from the "Mind and its potential" conference in Sydney earlier this year. It is predominantly focused on tibetan shmatha. Despite his glowing appraisal by his peers I found it a real disappointment. Couldn't get over the constant belittling of Theravada practice.
From the Wallace point of view, it is just the usual sectarian crap of the Gelugs are the true Buddhists who have it right and everyone else? Well, they mean well, but....
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: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:39 am

Ben wrote:Hi Tilt
I wonder if that (Wallace's) article was written before his "An attention revolution".
2008 for the Tricycle interview and 2006 for the book.

Couldn't get over the constant belittling of Theravada practice.
Why would you expect anything different, given that the Theravada is hinayana and has not got things quite right? Get me cranky enough and I might go through the interview as I did on the obviously defunct Grey Forum.
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: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby Sönam » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:15 am

hello tiltbillings, ... if vajrayana teachings are so "ignorant" why to be so irritated ?

may you found happiness and appeasement !

:namaste:
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Re: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby PeterB » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:44 am

I would not DREAM of speaking for Tilt, Sonam....
But I think what you are seeing as annoyance is in fact a healthy Theravadin reaction to assumptions of Hinayana inferiority..

My own personal view is that Tenzing Gyatso's view of the Vissudhimagga should not be rejected out of hand. It is as interesting as that of any intelligent person who has pondered the points it makes. No more, no less.
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Re: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby Sönam » Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:15 pm

PeterB wrote:...

My own personal view is that Tenzing Gyatso's view of the Vissudhimagga should not be rejected out of hand. It is as interesting as that of any intelligent person who has pondered the points it makes. No more, no less.


... with no possibility thant Tenzin Gyatso could be more than a "intelligent person" ?

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Re: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby PeterB » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:06 pm

Certainly with no likelihood of a Theravadin recognition of him as an embodiment of " Avalokiteshvara".
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Re: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby bodom » Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:27 pm

Ben wrote:I was just interested in the provenance of the article and the circumstances of its origin.


This is actually the foreword written by the DL for the 1999 first edition Pariyatti copy of the Vism. I double checked and it is in my copy.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby alan » Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:54 pm

I'm going to admit right here that Vissudhimagga baffles me.
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Re: Dalai Lama's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:01 pm

Sönam wrote:hello tiltbillings, ... if vajrayana teachings are so "ignorant" why to be so irritated ?

may you found happiness and appeasement !
I understand that English is not your primary language. I did not say Vajrayana teachings are ignorant. I said that Wallace's approach was grossly sectarian, essentially claiming that the Theravada, especially the vipassana tradition, did not get it right and that the vipassana tradition distorts the Dhamma.

While there is sufficient reason to criticise the Vajrayana, I did not do so; I criticized Wallace's sectarianism, which seriously distorts what he is supposedly criticizing.
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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