Buddhism and death

Dream

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Is it an article of faith for Buddhists disciples that the mind of a person is undying? Are there varieties of Buddhism that see death as a finality, or that avoid the subject of death altogether?
 
yes, the Tibetan book of the dead is a great read- but dont confuse it with the book- the tibetan book of living and dying, which is, well...pap...

however... what death is, or is not, according to buddhists, depends on which presentation of buddhism you have accepted to be buddhism...

some buddhists view death much like any orthodox christian does- the person dies, bodily, and then is reborn in another realm, or sphere- they could come back as gods, as animals, as devils... they might be taken into the hell realms and rolled over hills of spikes and boiled in oil- it gets a little medieval at times... take all this with a pinch of salt...

what is fascinating about death, for a buddhist, is this...

some buddhists speculate that the consciousness can live on after death... a person can deliberately train their mind so that when death comes, they do not find their consciousness stream dissipates into nothingness...

In the Bardo Thodol, a person passes through three seperate phases of death, all accompanied by visions of gods and demons...

and yet.. these gods and demons are illusory- figments of the imagination...

if you can maintain your consciousness-stream through these stages of death, u will come out the other side...

but you will be a disembodied consciousness... which is an issue if you have made a vow to "remain for the sake of all creatures happiness and welfare and refuse to enter nirvana"...

so... a person then has to find a new body...

basically... u find a man and woman who you like the look of to be your new parents, and then wait until they have sex...

then... you get in!

then... there's another complicated ritual, called "the closing of the womb door", and then u have to sit inside the womb, and wait for the nine or so months until...

you are born again!

However... I do not personally know if this is true or not- I suspect that getting a new body afterwards is more difficult than that, but...

I often come across disembodied consciousnesses, and they do not appear to be as rational and as eloquent as this rebirth model seems to suggest...

I do believe that, with the force of will, a person can remain after death, even if they are not buddhists, but I also feel that the average human consciousness will suffer in the process, and this is why ghosts don't appear to be very rational or eloquent...

The extraordinary powers in buddhism are much the same as in all religions- communicating with the dead, healing via thought/laying on of hands, astral projection, telepathy, clairvoyance, clairudience, although not often spoken of, as buddhism doesn't want to appear like that to casual observers...

yet- rather than be the goal, or the objective, these powers are no more than the fruits of meditative equipoise and the study of doctrine...

and the doctrine itself differs on what death is, and if anything remains afterwards...

one theory goes that you live on, but another theory sees death as the end of consciousness, and the end of life...a finality from which there is no escape...

some buddhists contemplate death as an exersise... they imagine themselves dead, decaying, dying, etc, visualise the maggots eating their flesh and the bloatedness of their own corpse putrifying, etc... they do this, supposedly, to condition themselves into ridding themselves of the delusion that death is something noble, and pleasant, and something to look forward to, or alternatively, to avoid, intellectually, by conjuring up heavens and hell realms and ideas about reincarnation, to spur a person on to living, and being as useful as possible now, not waiting to do better in the next life...

If the doctrine itself is to be believed... then... there is no death and at the same time, there is nothing after death. The Buddha acknowledged that "there is an unchanging, undying, within the universe"- but he did not state what this was...

Some other buddhists believe that when they die they will, through the force of their prayers, be reborn in a pure land, a special place resided over by the bodhisattva amitabha...

so, although it is not an article of faith for buddhists to consider the mind to be undying, most buddhists seem to believe in some form of reincarnation, although the doctrine suggests otherwise...
 
Thanks Francis and Seattlegal.

I also looked up the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and looked at the USA site for the Rigpa store. They sell the Mayahana lessons on training the mind along with the Tibetan books. Clearly the mental training is held to be very important regardless of the particular flavor of Buddhism. I'm sure lifestyle must be a big part of it, too.
 
Thanks Francis and Seattlegal.

I also looked up the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and looked at the USA site for the Rigpa store. They sell the Mayahana lessons on training the mind along with the Tibetan books. Clearly the mental training is held to be very important regardless of the particular flavor of Buddhism. I'm sure lifestyle must be a big part of it, too.
Yes. Purifying citta (mind-heart) is a big part of Buddhism.
Buddhanet's Introduction to Buddhism
 
"(W)hat death is, or is not, according to Buddhists, depends on which presentation of Buddhism you have accepted to be Buddhism..." So true. That reminds me of George Bernard Shaw: "There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it." And of course every new version is yet another opportunity for the original to be altered by a misapplication of concepts.

There are substantial and long-standing controversies about authenticity, including but not limited to differences between Theravada and Mahayana strains. Buddhists who align themselves with Theravada Buddhism see their Mahayana cohorts as deviates who believe in inauthentic scripture, commit to false monastic vows and worship non-Buddhist deities. Arguably, any deities don't really make much sense considering that Guattama Buddha emphasized the importance of working out one's own salvation. At best, they'd be irrelevant.

We recently discussed this theme in another tread on Pure Land Buddhism, which is a popular Mahayana subtype. I noted that Pure Land doctrine's emphasizes the vocalizing nenbutsu to the point of making Buddhism superficially ritualistic. externalist practice. It seems to me that Pure Land practitioners devotion to and dependence on Amitabha Buddha does not square with Siddhartha Guattama's emphasis on internal work. They might actually be viewed as heretics. Some would say that's a bit strong. But we're not just talking about differences in ideology. We're talking about focus of practice and possibly overall lifestyle.

Tibetan Buddhism is a mixture of Tibetanisms and Buddhism. It's also considered a Mahayana subtype. Historically, when it reached Tibet, Buddhism adapted to the animistic religion that existed there at the time. As a result, Tibetan Buddhism includes elements of divination and sorcery that are hard to reconcile to the original teachings of Guattama Buddha, who had no use for the supernatural and encouraged his followers to attain salvation through their own here-and-now efforts rather than by calling upon deities.

Tibetan Buddhism has 4 traditions. The Tibetan Book of the Dead is associated with one of these four, namely, the Nyingma tradition. I suppose one could reject Tibetan Buddhism and still accept certain basic Mahayana tenets. But if you were going to be a purist, you might end up rejecting both in an effort to stay close to the original tradition that Theravadists wish to represent as authentic doctrine (i.e., Guatamma Buddha's word).

As far as I know, Guattama Buddha avoided the subject of the afterlife, writing it off as unknowable and, as such, something we probably shouldn't concern ourselves with.

...... I'd be interested to know if you find anything about the immortality of an individual sentient being's mind in the Pali Canon.....
 
From the Pali canon:
Dhammapada 1

1. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.

2. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.

3. 'He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'--in those who harbour such thoughts hatred will never cease.

4. 'He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'--in those who do not harbour such thoughts hatred will cease.

5. For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an old rule.

6. The world does not know that we must all come to an end here;--but those who know it, their quarrels cease at once.

7. He who lives looking for pleasures only, his senses uncontrolled, immoderate in his food, idle, and weak, Mâra (the tempter) will certainly overthrow him, as the wind throws down a weak tree.

8. He who lives without looking for pleasures, his senses well controlled, moderate in his food, faithful and strong, him Mâra will certainly not overthrow, any more than the wind throws down a rocky mountain.

9. He who wishes to put on the yellow dress without having cleansed himself from sin, who disregards temperance and truth, is unworthy of the yellow dress.

10. But he who has cleansed himself from sin, is well grounded in all virtues, and regards also temperance and truth, he is indeed worthy of the yellow dress.

11. They who imagine truth in untruth, and see untruth in truth, never arrive at truth, but follow vain desires.

12. They who know truth in truth, and untruth in untruth, arrive at truth, and follow true desires.

13. As rain breaks through an ill-thatched house, passion will break through an unreflecting mind.

14. As rain does not break through a well-thatched house, passion will not break through a well-reflecting mind.

15. The evil-doer mourns in this world, and he mourns in the next; he mourns in both. He mourns and suffers when he sees the evil of his own work.

16. The virtuous man delights in this world, and he delights in the next; he delights in both. He delights and rejoices, when he sees the purity of his own work.

17. The evil-doer suffers in this world, and he suffers in the next; he suffers in both. He suffers when he thinks of the evil he has done; he suffers more when going on the evil path.

18. The virtuous man is happy in this world, and he is happy in the next; he is happy in both. He is happy when he thinks of the good he has done; he is still more happy when going on the good path.


19. The thoughtless man, even if he can recite a large portion (of the law), but is not a doer of it, has no share in the priesthood, but is like a cowherd counting the cows of others.

20. The follower of the law, even if he can recite only a small portion (of the law), but, having forsaken passion and hatred and foolishness, possesses true knowledge and serenity of mind, he, caring for nothing in this world or that to come, has indeed a share in the priesthood.​
 
Greetings,SG.

From the Pali canon:
Dhammapada 1

1. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.

2. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.

3. 'He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'--in those who harbour such thoughts hatred will never cease.

4. 'He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'--in those who do not harbour such thoughts hatred will cease.

5. For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an old rule.

6. The world does not know that we must all come to an end here;--but those who know it, their quarrels cease at once.

7. He who lives looking for pleasures only, his senses uncontrolled, immoderate in his food, idle, and weak, Mâra (the tempter) will certainly overthrow him, as the wind throws down a weak tree.

8. He who lives without looking for pleasures, his senses well controlled, moderate in his food, faithful and strong, him Mâra will certainly not overthrow, any more than the wind throws down a rocky mountain.

9. He who wishes to put on the yellow dress without having cleansed himself from sin, who disregards temperance and truth, is unworthy of the yellow dress.

10. But he who has cleansed himself from sin, is well grounded in all virtues, and regards also temperance and truth, he is indeed worthy of the yellow dress.

11. They who imagine truth in untruth, and see untruth in truth, never arrive at truth, but follow vain desires.

12. They who know truth in truth, and untruth in untruth, arrive at truth, and follow true desires.

13. As rain breaks through an ill-thatched house, passion will break through an unreflecting mind.

14. As rain does not break through a well-thatched house, passion will not break through a well-reflecting mind.

15. The evil-doer mourns in this world, and he mourns in the next; he mourns in both. He mourns and suffers when he sees the evil of his own work.

16. The virtuous man delights in this world, and he delights in the next; he delights in both. He delights and rejoices, when he sees the purity of his own work.

17. The evil-doer suffers in this world, and he suffers in the next; he suffers in both. He suffers when he thinks of the evil he has done; he suffers more when going on the evil path.

18. The virtuous man is happy in this world, and he is happy in the next; he is happy in both. He is happy when he thinks of the good he has done; he is still more happy when going on the good path.

19. The thoughtless man, even if he can recite a large portion (of the law), but is not a doer of it, has no share in the priesthood, but is like a cowherd counting the cows of others.

20. The follower of the law, even if he can recite only a small portion (of the law), but, having forsaken passion and hatred and foolishness, possesses true knowledge and serenity of mind, he, caring for nothing in this world or that to come, has indeed a share in the priesthood.​

So what do you make of it, SG?
 
Greetings,SG.


So what do you make of it, SG?
Well, according to the Dhammapada, it is our thoughts that are the causations of our experiences, both in this world and the next. Whether this means that there is a continuity of mind between this world and the next, or just a continuity of causation/experience is not firmly established. It reminds me of a koan:
Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said: "The flag is moving."

The other said: "The wind is moving."

The sixth patriarch happened to be passing by. He told them: "Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving."​

Would it be a violation of causality if the mind did not move to the next realm along with the fruits of the thoughts? Do the causal thoughts move to become part of the fruits of the thoughts in the next realm in order to preserve the continuity? One could lose one's mind pondering such questions. {Pun intended :p }
 
Please don't think that I'm making commentary on Buddhist literature, because I'm really an outsider without the foggiest idea.

I see that the Dhammapada is much longer than just one page, yet is only a small scoop of one of the Pitakas. Wikipedia has a picture of the entire official Tipitaka set, and its huge. I cannot tell a lot just from looking at SG's paste from the Dhammapada, because without more context the term 'Next world' could actually be a way of 'Not saying anything' about what happens after death -- a way instead of referring to 'Whatever happens when we die'. 'Next world' could be about this instant in time versus the next, where two moments are two different worlds. "What you do today carries into tomorrow." Speaking of some dead person, you could refer to the fact that their hate, love, and other fruits carry on even though they are dead or produces hate and love in the people who survive. It could just be saying the evil man hates us from out of his grave and the disciplined man still loves though he is absent, through the effects of his actions when living.
 
Namaste Netti-Netti,

thank you for the post.

Netti-Netti said:
There are substantial and long-standing controversies about authenticity, including but not limited to differences between Theravada and Mahayana strains.

that is a common enough accusation but one which ultimately reflects of lack of understanding of Buddha Dharma and how the Sutta/Sutras are understood and the place that they hold within the tradition.

Buddhists who align themselves with Theravada Buddhism see their Mahayana cohorts as deviates who believe in inauthentic scripture, commit to false monastic vows and worship non-Buddhist deities.

i've never met a single Theravedan Buddhist that held this view. since the Mahayana canon contains all the Suttas of the Pali canon i suspect that your exposition of the Theravedan view regarding Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism isn't accurate nor representative of anyone other than yourself.

We recently discussed this theme in another tread on Pure Land Buddhism, which is a popular Mahayana subtype. I noted that Pure Land doctrine's emphasizes the vocalizing nenbutsu to the point of making Buddhism superficially ritualistic. externalist practice. It seems to me that Pure Land practitioners devotion to and dependence on Amitabha Buddha does not square with Siddhartha Guattama's emphasis on internal work. They might actually be viewed as heretics. Some would say that's a bit strong. But we're not just talking about differences in ideology. We're talking about focus of practice and possibly overall lifestyle.

i think you've confused Nichiren and Pure Land Buddhism. in any event the Buddha specifically mentions that beings can come to the Dharma through sufficient faith or love for him, a previous Buddha or Bodhisattva. this is not the ideal, of course, but it is a valid method to use and one which, for some beings, is the ideal vehicle.

Tibetan Buddhism is a mixture of Tibetanisms and Buddhism.

it is called Vajrayana Buddhism and it does contain some elements of Bon-po, the original tradition of Tibet before the arrival of the Dharma.

I suppose one could reject Tibetan Buddhism and still accept certain basic Mahayana tenets. But if you were going to be a purist, you might end up rejecting both in an effort to stay close to the original tradition that Theravadists wish to represent as authentic doctrine (i.e., Guatamma Buddha's word).

though we know that the Theravedan school is the last remaining school of the original 17 so it is not possible to assert which is the "authentic doctrine" or school of Buddha Dharma... all of which somewhat misses the point regarding the teachings and how they are to be understood.

more to the point, however, is that there has never been a "one size fits all" approach to the Buddha Dharma and the Buddha expressly stated that his teachings were adapted for the specific group of beings to whom the teachings was being given. all of this is rather besides the point of this particular thread, though.

As far as I know, Guattama Buddha avoided the subject of the afterlife, writing it off as unknowable and, as such, something we probably shouldn't concern ourselves with.

perhaps you should read some of the Tipitaka and see what it has to say on this subject? it has many, many Suttas which concern the next state of arising, how it comes to be and how a being can effect the reaping of the fruit of their previous karma. i can link some here but there are so many that it is just as easy to check them out here: Sutta Pitaka

metta,

~v
 
but... if all is emptiness- even what the mind takes hold of, then so too is doctrine, and theory...

netti-netti...you said...quoting

"...George Bernard Shaw: "There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it." And of course every new version is yet another opportunity for the original to be altered by a misapplication of concepts".

-How right you are...

Buddhism is in a mess. I am not the only person who has thought this since Buddhism was fashioned, and no doubt I will not be the last.

First, we are told buddhism is the study (ism) of the buddha (knowing thinking) i.e., insight, "and then we do good and evil" (nagarjuna) by petitioning Gods like peasants do, for boons, and for the granting of wishes...

...my problem with deviding the doctrine up into it's different camps- the mahayana, the theravada, the vajrayana, is this...

we, as individual buddhists, miss out if we look at it like that...

stuff the schools, and their gurus... they are, in general, as clueless as you or I might be... decide for yourself what buddhism is, and isn't...

personally... I love Nagajuna... for me, he gets right to the heart of the matter, and he approaches that part of buddhism which is really buddhism and allows it to unfurl- yet if I am a strict "school-bound" buddhist, I may never come across him, and if I do I might be inclined to be disparaging...

As you may or may not know, Nagarjuna and some fellow revisionists of the doctrine were expelled from the buddhist council of Vaisali in around 1AD...

he then, much like me now, and much like Dogen in between, believed that what we know to be buddhism isn't really buddhism after all, but some watered down, badly applied, badly arranged thing- hundreds of monastic vows, praying to Gods which don't exist, heavily influenced by the cultures it has tried to influence over the years, until what we see as buddhism is not buddhism at all...

I was in a monastery once, sitting, watching the priest perform a ritual. In his hand he held a rod, and in this rod was ... the sacred japonica.

This rod was the focus of the ritual- he blessed us with it, like it had some great magical power... he carried it like a royal baby; reverently, gazing at it like an adoring fan, and he mentioned the five kings who presided over the heavenly realms... and I thought- wtf...??!!! What does this have to do with buddhism exactly?

I tried to point out to him that these kings had absolutely nothing to do with buddhism but were the heavenly kings of Shinto, but he was not interested.

I tried to explain to him that there was nothing sacred about a bit of old bark, nor was there anything sacred in sitting down and staring at the wall for 8 hours a day, and nor was there anything sacred in eating only one meal a day and surviving in silence to wake at 4am and go to bed at 10, only to do the same again the next day, and the day after, and never read a text in your life, but not suprisingly, he wasn't interested.

Buddha himself said- "veering to neither of the extremes"... daydreaming to the extent where a fantasy becomes a reality? An extreme. Viewing the body as repugnant and something filthy? An extreme. Sitting in meditation for 8 hours a day or performing the same puja over and over again until you are reciting it in your sleep? An extreme.

What makes a person think that if they sit off and not-think for long enough they will miraculously attain this great enlightenment?

Does the doctrine have nothing to do with buddhism, after all, then?

Why do people sit and chant sutras over and over again in the hope this will have some great effect on them?

...Because they are peasants...

...while they believe they are autonomous self-supporting original beings, while they shave their heads and dress up in robes and play-act they generally know bugger all about the doctrine they supposedly enjoy so much that they are willing to become renunciants and live in miserable mental squalor with abbots who can't find their own asses in the dark with two hands, a torch and a map.

I agree with you, Netti-Netti- there are lots of long standing controversies concerning the authenticty of some texts- if you read the upanishads and the dhammapada you will notice that the dhammapada in parts is very like the upanishads, even so similiar as to have the same sentences and the same sentence structures.

Now, while I am not disparaging of the upanishads, I fail to see what they have to do with buddhism...

and while hinduism is fascinating, I am not a hindu. Nor am I Japanese, or from Tibet or Burma.

Mahayana, Vayrayana, Theravada...

Mahayana- the great vehicle... or rather... the vehicle with the most adherents... It is a vehicle for peasants...

bodhisattvas floating around the ether waiting to whisk you away to the heavenly realm, the bodhisattva ideal, and remaining throughout ages that cannot be counted so you can liberate other beings...good karma ... poo on a stick...

it's the vehicle for muppets who need gods... petty, weak, needy, greedy- there's a place in the mahayana for you... and, you can be a complete peasant too, illiterate, poor, blind, and you do not need to read the texts, you do not even need meditation- you can just pray to a god that doesn't exist, and somehow... woo!

I can get saints and gods and heavens and hells anywhere... none of these things are buddhism.

The Theravadins- they think they have the real buddhism- but their version of events is equally filled with dross- a disgust for the body, lots of rules, no real understanding of the texts even though they can quote them having learnt them via rote, systematically, methodically...and wow... what is it about jatakas?

The Vajrayana- the so-called diamond-vehicle, which teaches you the same old gods and demons as before, but dresses them up in magic and hindu tantra and pretends its buddhism when really, it isn't at all...

Pure land is the worst type of buddhism of all- just chant the nebutsu, and you'll be born in Sukhavati...

and what does this have to do with buddhism?

absolutely nothing...

As you seem to allude to, Netti-Netti; buddhism is a study of the mind, the individuals mind, and how that individual understands the mind, and what the mind takes hold of, and how that brings the poisons and the fetters, etc...

it is only by unpicking these seemingly disparate threads of consciousness do we understand what consciousness is, and how to escape from suffering and how to find that no-mind, which is the true mind... only then can we understand mind, and if they are ours to discover in the first place, discover the supra-normal "powers"...

Dogen had these powers, incidentally... So too did Nagarjuna... they are fruits of the path...

that may sound superstitious, and maybe un-buddhist, but if buddhism is a study of the mind then it is only right that all mental processes and faculties and aspects should be uncovered when a person finds their enlightenment...

Vajradhara might say...

"[Netti-Netti's position] reflects of lack of understanding of Buddha Dharma and how the Sutta/Sutras are understood and the place that they hold within the tradition".

-But that's what people like Vaj always say when they cannot understand- it's you, "Otherperson", who doesn't understand...

While Vajradhara might have "...never met a single Theravedan Buddhist that held this view [that the mahayana scriptures in the main are not-buddhism]

all I can say is... look at the texts... not the silly fairy tale texts, and the rituals for magic powers... I would agree with Netti-Netti, and say that a lot of Mahayana scriptures ARE NOT DEFINATIVE SCRIPTURES and therefore ARE NOT buddhist scriptures at all...

I think that Vajradhara errs when he states that
"...beings can come to the Dharma through sufficient faith or love for [buddha]...a previous Buddha or Bodhisattva".
How does that work then, Vajradhara? Buddha, even though he's dead... and the bodhisattvas, which don't actually exist at all, except where they really belong, in hinduism, can somhow "save" you/me/him/her... because?
Childrens' stories often have more bite...

-Although I have to agree with Vajradhara when he says that what we believe is the current official Pali canon is not neccesarily "authentic doctrine"...
... Vaj... If the doctrine isn't the point, then why be a buddhist at all? It's the doctrine that makes buddhism what it is...
...Vaj...there is a one-size fits-all approach to buddhism... it's called the mahayana... no matter what silly notions you have, you can find a place there for yourself...
Buddhism is not about gods... and I suspect that much of what professes to be buddhism is Shinto, Bon, or Hinduism masquerading as buddhism and has been added later by abbots who could not find their own asses in the dark with a torch, two hands, and a map...
 
Namaste Francis,

thank you for the post.

Vajradhara might say...

"[Netti-Netti's position] reflects of lack of understanding of Buddha Dharma and how the Sutta/Sutras are understood and the place that they hold within the tradition".

-But that's what people like Vaj always say when they cannot understand- it's you, "Otherperson", who doesn't understand...

come now, Francis, there is no need to invoke other people here.. that is what i said and it may well be your view that i don't understand Netti-Netti and the point that he is attempting to make yet i've no means to determine how you'd know if i understand it or not, based on my post all you can reasonably determine is that i disagree with the sentiments expressed.

why must my disagreement with the points raised be based upon misunderstanding my own religion? why can i not simply disagree whilst understanding the point being made and the context in which it is made?

you are not the first person to do that, of course, yet i still find it curious that the presumption is one of ignorance rather than disagreement.


While Vajradhara might have "...never met a single Theravedan Buddhist that held this view [that the mahayana scriptures in the main are not-buddhism]

all I can say is... look at the texts... not the silly fairy tale texts, and the rituals for magic powers

that is not what i was responding to and you well know it. i'm disagreeing with the accusation of being deviate and of worshipping a deity.

it would be curious if you think that the various powers which are said to arise from the practice are unique to the Mahayana. if so, then i would strongly suggest that you read the Pali canon again. i've posted the various Suttas regarding the development of the paranormal powers before and whilst you may find the subject uncomfortable and inauthentic that does not change the fact that the subject is part and parcel of the Buddhist tradition. the role that these things play within the tradition is, however, inconsequential with the exception of the verification that the Buddha was talking about in the Greater Elephant Simile Sutta.

... I would agree with Netti-Netti, and say that a lot of Mahayana scriptures ARE NOT DEFINATIVE SCRIPTURES and therefore ARE NOT buddhist scriptures at all...

the Mahayana canon contains *all* of the Pali canon Suttas with additional Sutras and Commentaries.

perhaps you mean to indicate that the Sutras which are unique to the Mahayana are not authentic Buddhist Sutras and if it isn't in the Pali canon then it's not Buddhism? that leaves one in the strange position of ignoring the Buddhas teachings on how to understand the Suttas/Sutras and what role they play within the overall rubic of Buddhism.

I think that Vajradhara errs when he states that
"...beings can come to the Dharma through sufficient faith or love for [buddha]...a previous Buddha or Bodhisattva".
How does that work then, Vajradhara?

no need to be snide, Francis. the Suttas are quite clear on this particular point, in my opinion. if you'd like i'll excerpt some of the relevant sections here for our discussion.

moreover, coming to the Dharma is not, at all, the same thing as Awakening and attaining Liberation. by and large the phrase denotes a being that has accepted the tenets of the tradition yet has not Entered the Stream.

... Vaj... If the doctrine isn't the point, then why be a buddhist at all? It's the doctrine that makes buddhism what it is...

the Dharma is the point and it is your opinion that the doctrines of Buddhism define what it is, clearly i disagree.

...Vaj...there is a one-size fits-all approach to buddhism... it's called the mahayana... no matter what silly notions you have, you can find a place there for yourself...

sorry Francis i think that you are being overly general and failing to acknowledge the differences that exist within the Mahayana schools. if they were a one size fits all there would not be any schools within the Mahayana vehicle just as there are none within the Hinyana (any longer) other than Theraveda.

metta,

~v
 
all I can say is... look at the texts... not the silly fairy tale texts, and the rituals for magic powers... I would agree with Netti-Netti, and say that a lot of Mahayana scriptures ARE NOT DEFINATIVE SCRIPTURES and therefore ARE NOT buddhist scriptures at all...

moreover, coming to the Dharma is not, at all, the same thing as Awakening and attaining Liberation. by and large the phrase denotes a being that has accepted the tenets of the tradition yet has not Entered the Stream.

Kalama Sutta
 
Namaste Netti-Netti

Namaste, and thank you for your interest in this discussion.

since the Mahayana canon contains all the Suttas of the Pali canon i suspect that your exposition of the Theravedan view regarding Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism isn't accurate nor representative of anyone other than yourself.
I would say this is a flawed argument. The fact that the core scriptures are the same does not rule out the possibility that new texts and new approaches were introduced into the mix that were in dispute as being unorthodox from the get-go. These kind of conflicts were in evidence as early as the 2nd Buddhist Council.

Recall the Council's rejection of the Mahasangikas, who were considered "secessionists." I suppose one could argue that the Mahasangikas were not Mahayana Buddhists even if their views were incorporated into Mahayana tradition.


i think you've confused Nichiren and Pure Land Buddhism.
Not really. You will recall there was an official ban on the nembutsu. The founder of the Pure Land School, Shinran Shonin was defrocked and exiled and some of his disciples were killed. I think the doctrinal conflict is fairly obvious in these kinds of events. The way Shonin was treated does not reflect well on Buddhism, which supposedly endorses universal religious tolerance.

I see Nichiren Buddhism as a different thing and would suggest that it is not at all interchangeable with Pure Land. The founding monk Nichiren had a problem with Pure Land because he saw it as heretical.

Suffice it to say that the evolution of Buddhism involved a variety of ideological issues. Since the issues are directly relevant to practice, I'd describe them as significant rather than trivial.
 
hello, brothers! I read somewhere that in Buddhism there are sects who have got their specific standpoints to the issue of persons who might be allowed to enter nirvana after death. I heard that in one of the sects only monks can get to nirvana and in the other the simple adherers can do. If you know any information on this matter, would you mind sharing with me? I would be grateful.
 
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Namaste Tajik,

welcome to the Comparative Religion forum! Enjoy your stay :)

broadly speaking you are talking about the difference between Hinyana and Mahayana Buddhism, two overarching vehicles or groups within Buddhism.

generally speaking the terms Hinyana and Mahayana denote this very difference... the Hinyana is called the lesser vehicle because it primarily focuses upon the monastics with regards to attaining the final fruit whereas the Mahayana is called the greater vehicle because it includes the laity with regards to the final fruit.

that said, the Pali canon which is the canon of scripture that the Hinyana schools (though there is only one extant school now, Theraveda) does indicate that lay people can Awaken and attain Liberation. at a certain point it becomes fairly academic and rather unrelated to the actual practice in my estimation.

metta,

~v
 
hello, brothers! I read somewhere that in Buddhism there are sects who have got their specific standpoints to the issue of persons who might be allowed to enter nirvana after death. I heard that in one of the sects only monks can get to nirvana and in the other the simple adherers can do.
Hello Tajik. Good to meet you. There may have been a reason why you were asking about entering Nirvana after death. I just wanted to point out that Nirvana is a state one would attain in this life, not in the afterlife.

It seems the Pali Canon does indicate that lay people can Awaken and attain Liberation. However, these appear to be fairly rare instances. Moreover, the awakened ones don't remain lay people for long: they become full-time practitioners and teachers.

Siddhartha may have downplayed the need for special religious authority. However, the Pali Canon does emphasize the role of special knowledge or "wisdom" along with specific specialized practices that comprise the devotee's personal discipline. The ideal end result is a certain special kind of person - i.e., an adept.

The Pali Canon's descriptions of the adept's traits tend to have an elitist bent to them. In this connection, I'd say the Buddhist approach of working out ones own salvation by one's own efforts seems quite different from Christianity, which offers universal dispensation of Grace to anyone who accepts that Jesus died for their sins.

Some observers would say that Buddhism is indeed elitist. I would further suggest that popularized versions of Buddhism (e.g., Pure Land) may actually be incompatible with attainment of Nirvana by truncating various aspects of practice. And this on the pretext of making it universally accessible. More later.
 
In this connection, I'd say the Buddhist approach of working out ones own salvation by one's own efforts seems quite different from Christianity, which offers universal dispensation of Grace to anyone who accepts that Jesus died for their sins.
Christianity requires working out one's own salvation--it's just we also have the help from God, as well.
Phillipians 2:12-13
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.​
 
Christianity requires working out one's own salvation--it's just we also have the help from God, as well.
Phillipians 2:12-13​
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.​
Yes, I see. But the part about it being "God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" would suggest that it is G-d's action, not the individual's.
 
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