FPMT (Keeping the Mahayana Tradition Alive)

Hermes

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I have just joined FPMT and begun my formal learning of the Mahayana tradition...are there others on this forum who are familiar with this organization? If so let me know...
 

wil

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It is funny.... when I take the beliefnet quiz...Mahayana always comes up in the top 5 or so...yet I really know very little about it.
 

Nick the Pilot

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Hermes,

There has been a lot of squabbling between FPMT and other Buddhist traditions over the years. It is big enough of a problem that I think you at least need to be aware of it.

You also might want to become aware of the differences between Mahayana and non-Mahayana Buddhism.
 

Ahanu

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You also might want to become aware of the differences between Mahayana and non-Mahayana Buddhism.

What are the big differences in a nutshell? I'm only familiar with Thich Nhat Hanh's version of Mahayana Buddhism.
 

Hermes

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I am aware that no religion is above squabbling (even Buddhists are no exception). I am not that interested in the details as I figure that would not likely dissuade me either way. However, I do find the training very hard (I am doing the basic program, mind and cognition, part 1)
Hermes,

There has been a lot of squabbling between FPMT and other Buddhist traditions over the years. It is big enough of a problem that I think you at least need to be aware of it.

You also might want to become aware of the differences between Mahayana and non-Mahayana Buddhism.
 

Nick the Pilot

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Ahanu,

In a nutshell, Mahayana stresses the importance of taking something called the Bodhisattva Vow, whereas in Theravada such a vow is not emphasized. Have you heard of this vow?

Some people say there is a third type of Buddhism, Vajrayana, which emphasizes that students must align themselves with one particular teacher, and this teacher will then pass the teachings down directly to the students.
 
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Nick the Pilot

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Hermes,

I hope that your hard training accelerates your progress to enlightenment and then onto nirvana. (I know that the wrong training can, in extreme instances, actually slow down a person's progress along the path, or even move backwards along the path.)
 

Hermes

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Hi Nick,
I am familiar with the Bodhisattva Vow and that is precisely why I like the Mahayana. I was a student of Agni Yoga (an obscure teaching from a Russian Artist and his wife) but my teacher had some other ideas of his lectures and he considered himself somewhat of a Buddhist.) I have never been a joiner but I found the profound need to do something as of late. I may never go to the Kopan Monastery in Nepal but there are centers in France, doing the same retreat.
Hermes,

I hope that your hard training accelerates your progress to enlightenment and then onto nirvana. (I know that the wrong training can, in extreme instances, actually slow down a person's progress along the path, or even move backwards along the path.)
 
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wil

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Is the contemplating suffering part of this tradition? I can't remember where I came across that but contemplating bloating putrid remains exploding in order to totally grasp that suffering was normal...was too much for me... I felt it was written during a time of war or famine that was incredible.
 

Hermes

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This is one of Buddha's Suicide parable which later was reexamined. There is no need to meditate of decaying corpses, now that is replaced with breathing (simulating birth/death cycle)...
  • Migalandika
"An undesirable monk (samanakuttaka). When the Buddha had once been preaching to the monks in Mahāvana in Vesāli regarding the defilement and filth of the body, and had retired into solitude, many of the monks, in disgust with their bodies, put an end to their lives. Some of them sought out Migalandika and asked him to cut off their heads. This he did with a sword, but on his way to the River Vaggamudā, to wash his sword, he was seized with remorse. A Mārakāyika devatā, however, appeared before him in the river und assured him he was doing a service to the monks by helping them to commit suicide. This encouraged him, and he put to death many more monks, until the Buddha, discovering the facts, intervened."

Is the contemplating suffering part of this tradition? I can't remember where I came across that but contemplating bloating putrid remains exploding in order to totally grasp that suffering was normal...was too much for me... I felt it was written during a time of war or famine that was incredible.
 

Nick the Pilot

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Hermes,

It sounds to me like you have studied this philosophy in a previous reincarnation, and so you find it so comfortable to pick up in this lifetime. Do you get this type of feeling yourself?
 

Hermes

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Nick,
Yes, you are correct, but I am not sure what I have done in my past life to erase my present-life's first 40-years....a veil of ignorance and escapism...perhaps.
then I had a mini awakening during 2006-2009, when I was part of an Agni Yoga group for ~3-years (a very intense study and meditation group ), but even back then I have often felt that I have known this before :)
Having said that; sometimes I am having enormous regret of how I've wasted 4 decades prior to my middle years...I was on/off seeking but I often got distracted and never stuck to anything meaningful, meandering...
OK, [note to self - stop to feeling sorry...]
Cheers,
Hermes
Hermes,

It sounds to me like you have studied this philosophy in a previous reincarnation, and so you find it so comfortable to pick up in this lifetime. Do you get this type of feeling yourself?
 
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wil

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A hindi woman told me....we should spend our first 25 years learning, our second 25 years building a career/business and family, our third 25 years giving back, and our forth 25 years meditating and studying....
 

Hermes

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a good one...and optimistic too, (assuming we live to be one hundred....)
A hindi woman told me....we should spend our first 25 years learning, our second 25 years building a career/business and family, our third 25 years giving back, and our forth 25 years meditating and studying....
 

Nick the Pilot

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Hermes,

There is another way to look at this. In this lifetime you have born into the west, a western culture which glorifies materialism and rejects ideas like meditation. You have been loyal and obeying to your present culture and you did what it told you to do for the first 40 years of this present incarnation. (Fortunately, something in this life finally 'activated' your experiences and memories from your past eastern incarnations.)
 

farhan

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Just curious, why not theravada or vajrayana. I have studied theravada and vajrayana methods quite extensively (using books only, no teacher), and have reasonable experience in Sufi/Buddhist mind training. IMHO Dzogchen/mahamudra are the fastest technologies for enlightment in buddhism. But you will need initiation in order to get the"complete package". Theravada on the other hand is the original buddhism, very slow since there are no energy practices in it.

I havent read much regarding mahayana techniques, but AFAIK their methods are just a little bit improvement over theravada.
 

Nick the Pilot

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Farhan,

Everyone thinks their version of Buddhism is the best version. Obviously, this is open to a lot of discussion.

The two questions, then, that you are raising are, what is the best way to accelerate our progress towards enlightenment, and which tradition (within Buddhism or even another tradition altogether) shows us the best way to accelerate our progress along the path? These two questions are open to A LOT of discussion.

I am not sure I agree with the idea that "Theravada [is] very slow since there are no energy practices in it."
 
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farhan

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Well these things are impossible to prove, from efficacy of methods all the way to very definition of enlightenment. Buddhists (and others too) have been bickering over it for the last 2500 years. My opinion is based upon my studies and experiences. IMHO methods where a teacher passes down "spiritual stuff"(not just bookish concepts) directly into you is the fastest one. Tantriks and Sufis do that. Next are the energy practices that include breath/body work, kundalini, visualisation etc. Tantriks, daoists and sufis all do that. Third and slowest is the practice where you sit facing a wall trying to calm down your mind. This is the "sutrayana" zen/chan and theravada practice.
 

Hermes

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I think fast energy practices can and often backfire, when they are done without a supervision of a Teacher. It is a choice of a Ferrari versus a Mercedes...I took the Benz... :) but this is just wordplay. The fpmt allows me to do this partially at home, safely with the option that when I can and have the time I can visit one of their Dharma centers or even monasteries. I do not doubt that there are perhaps faster venues but that was not my desire. I am very cautious of not stressing/overloading my fragile nervous system.
 

Nick the Pilot

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Hermes,

The way I see it, there are three things that we are required to do in order to qualify to be considered for enlightenment. The first is raising up our level of spirituality to the minimum level of spirituality required for enlightenment. The second is providing examples of our service to humanity. The third is burning off bad karma.

(It has been said that, during the rigorous process called attempting to achieve enlightenment, the question of whether we believe in Jesus, Buddha, etc., does not even come up. But what does come up is that we are required to show we have a strong record of having given service to humanity.)

Quite frankly, I am suspicious of any religious tradition that emphasizes one of these three requirements while not mentioning the other two, which is exactly what some religious traditions are doing.
 
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