Author Topic: The Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path  (Read 692 times)

Offline Dharma Flower

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The Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path
« on: May 15, 2017, 01:17:32 pm »
Buddhism is primarily about following a path. We might have the most beautiful metaphysical beliefs, but if we are unkind to others, those beliefs are of no benefit to us.

For a Mahayana Buddhist, the Six Paramitas are where the rubber meets the road, which are more or less equivalent to the Eightfold Path of Theravada Buddhism:

Quote
The Mahayana Buddhist tradition places a strong emphasis on benefiting others as the goal of Buddhist practice.
As an expression of this attitude toward the nature of Buddhist practice, the Mahayana tradition expresses the essential elements of Buddhist practice described the Eightfold Path in an alternative model called the Six Paramitas.

The literal of meaning of paramita in Sanskrit is “Crossing over to the Other Shore (Nirvana).”
1) Generosity (Skt. Dāna, Jp. fuse 布施)
2) Moral conduct, upholding precepts (Skt. Śīla, Jp. jikai 持戒)
Corresponding elements of the Eightfold Path: Right Speech, Right Conduct, and Right Livelihood
3) Forbearance (Skt. Kṣānti, Jp. ninniku忍辱)
Corresponding element of the Eightfold Path: Right Effort with regard one’s state of mind.
4) Diligence (Skt. Vīrya, Jp. shōjin 精進)
Corresponding element of the Eightfold Path: Right Effort with regard one’s words and actions.
5) Contemplation (Skt. Dhyāna, Jp. zenjō 禪定)
Corresponding elements of the Eightfold Path: Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration.
6) Wisdom (Skt. Prajñā, Jp. chie 智慧)
Corresponding elements of the Eightfold Path: Right View and Right Thought.
http://www.oxnardbuddhisttemple.org/welcome/jodo-shinshu-buddhism


I am currently reading The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva, and it's one of the most eye-opening Buddhist books I've ever read. The path of wisdom and compassion which Shantideva lays out can be practiced by all Buddhists, regardless of school or sect.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: The Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2017, 02:50:09 pm »
Buddhism is primarily about following a path. We might have the most beautiful metaphysical beliefs, but if we are unkind to others, those beliefs are of no benefit to us.

True enough, but how, then, do we become kind to others?

If you continue to study Shantideva and other Mahayana gurus, you will come to see that ego-driven actions are not the key.  To approach kindness with the thought that "I will be kind to this person",  is merely an acknowledgement of self - unskillful and without benefit or merit.  Only as we develop the view that there is no gift, no giver and no recipient - 3-fold purity, that we excercise kindness without reference, only then will we have a true paramita.



Quote
For a Mahayana Buddhist, the Six Paramitas are where the rubber meets the road, which are more or less equivalent to the Eightfold Path of Theravada Buddhism:

They are different. 

I believe the 8-fold Path is that of the Noble Ones, the Buddhas of the 3 times, and 10 directions.  The Paramitas are there for our practice.

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: The Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2017, 08:07:52 pm »
They are different. 


They are different and yet are analogous or complementary to each other:

Quote
The literal of meaning of paramita in Sanskrit is “Crossing over to the Other Shore (Nirvana).”
1) Generosity (Skt. Dāna, Jp. fuse 布施)
2) Moral conduct, upholding precepts (Skt. Śīla, Jp. jikai 持戒)
Corresponding elements of the Eightfold Path: Right Speech, Right Conduct, and Right Livelihood
3) Forbearance (Skt. Kṣānti, Jp. ninniku忍辱)
Corresponding element of the Eightfold Path: Right Effort with regard one’s state of mind.
4) Diligence (Skt. Vīrya, Jp. shōjin 精進)
Corresponding element of the Eightfold Path: Right Effort with regard one’s words and actions.
5) Contemplation (Skt. Dhyāna, Jp. zenjō 禪定)
Corresponding elements of the Eightfold Path: Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration.
6) Wisdom (Skt. Prajñā, Jp. chie 智慧)
Corresponding elements of the Eightfold Path: Right View and Right Thought.
http://www.oxnardbuddhisttemple.org/welcome/jodo-shinshu-buddhism


Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: The Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2017, 08:08:45 pm »
They are different and yet are analogous or complementary to each other:

Quote
The literal of meaning of paramita in Sanskrit is “Crossing over to the Other Shore (Nirvana).”
1) Generosity (Skt. Dāna, Jp. fuse 布施)
2) Moral conduct, upholding precepts (Skt. Śīla, Jp. jikai 持戒)
Corresponding elements of the Eightfold Path: Right Speech, Right Conduct, and Right Livelihood
3) Forbearance (Skt. Kṣānti, Jp. ninniku忍辱)
Corresponding element of the Eightfold Path: Right Effort with regard one’s state of mind.
4) Diligence (Skt. Vīrya, Jp. shōjin 精進)
Corresponding element of the Eightfold Path: Right Effort with regard one’s words and actions.
5) Contemplation (Skt. Dhyāna, Jp. zenjō 禪定)
Corresponding elements of the Eightfold Path: Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration.
6) Wisdom (Skt. Prajñā, Jp. chie 智慧)
Corresponding elements of the Eightfold Path: Right View and Right Thought.
http://www.oxnardbuddhisttemple.org/welcome/jodo-shinshu-buddhism


« Last Edit: May 15, 2017, 08:20:41 pm by Dharma Flower »

Offline Kodo308

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Re: The Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2017, 07:46:39 am »
Buddhism is primarily about following a path. We might have the most beautiful metaphysical beliefs, but if we are unkind to others, those beliefs are of no benefit to us.

For a Mahayana Buddhist, the Six Paramitas are where the rubber meets the road, which are more or less equivalent to the Eightfold Path of Theravada Buddhism:

Quote
The Mahayana Buddhist tradition places a strong emphasis on benefiting others as the goal of Buddhist practice.
As an expression of this attitude toward the nature of Buddhist practice, the Mahayana tradition expresses the essential elements of Buddhist practice described the Eightfold Path in an alternative model called the Six Paramitas.

The literal of meaning of paramita in Sanskrit is “Crossing over to the Other Shore (Nirvana).”

I found that an interesting translation of paramita, as I know it as perfection, so I did a little research on Wikipedia:

"Donald S. Lopez, Jr. describes the etymology of the term:

The term pāramitā, commonly translated as "perfection," has two etymologies. The first derives it from the word parama, meaning "highest", "most distant", and hence "chief", "primary", "most excellent". Hence, the substantive can be rendered "excellence" or "perfection". This reading is supported by the Madhyāntavibhāga (V.4), where the twelve excellences (parama) are associated with the ten perfections (pāramitā).

A more creative yet widely reported etymology divides pāramitā into pāra and mita, with pāra meaning "beyond", "the further bank, shore or boundary," and mita, meaning "that which has arrived," or ita meaning "that which goes." Pāramitā, then means "that which has gone beyond," "that which goes beyond," or "transcendent." This reading is reflected in the Tibetan translation pha rol tu phyin pa ("gone to the other side")."

 :D Learn something new every day! And now I have another question for the geshe...because in the Tibetan tradition I follow, it's always been translated as perfection.

My Zen teacher has always conflated the two expressions of practice.

Quote
I am currently reading The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva, and it's one of the most eye-opening Buddhist books I've ever read. The path of wisdom and compassion which Shantideva lays out can be practiced by all Buddhists, regardless of school or sect.

The Bodhicaryavatara is my desert island book.  :jinsyx: It's both quite approachable while being profound.

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: The Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2017, 06:13:31 pm »
​In the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha explains his past life as Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. What this story tells us is that we ultimately attain Buddhahood through showing kindness to others, even in the face of adversity and harsh circumstances, rather than by scriptural knowledge.

It is only by humbling the ego-self that the Buddha within can shine through. Anyone who teaches that we can be mean and callous our entire lives, willfully ignoring the example of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging, and somehow attain Buddhahood anyway, is not teaching the Dharma.

http://www.rk-world.org/publications/lotussutra_B20.html
« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 06:36:35 pm by Dharma Flower »

Offline IdleChater

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Re: The Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2017, 08:10:31 am »
​In the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha explains his past life as Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. What this story tells us is that we ultimately attain Buddhahood through showing kindness to others, even in the face of adversity and harsh circumstances, rather than by scriptural knowledge.

It is only by humbling the ego-self that the Buddha within can shine through. Anyone who teaches that we can be mean and callous our entire lives, willfully ignoring the example of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging, and somehow attain Buddhahood anyway, is not teaching the Dharma.

http://www.rk-world.org/publications/lotussutra_B20.html


But how did Bodhisattva Never Disparaging attain this?  Certainly not through the willfull, self-driven excercise of mundane kindness.  Rather it arose from a profund realization of emptiness and 3-fold purity.

Offline Kodo308

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Re: The Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2017, 08:12:02 am »
That's one of my favorite stories from the Lotus. And there's a popular song written by a couple of priests at San Francisco Zen Center about Bodhisattva Never Disparage...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7Iup5me5JY

I just finished a re-read of the Lotus. What other sutras form the core of Pure Land teachings? Ours are the Lotus, Avatamsaka, & Lankavatara.

 :namaste:


Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: The Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2017, 02:24:14 am »
That's one of my favorite stories from the Lotus. And there's a popular song written by a couple of priests at San Francisco Zen Center about Bodhisattva Never Disparage...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7Iup5me5JY

I just finished a re-read of the Lotus. What other sutras form the core of Pure Land teachings? Ours are the Lotus, Avatamsaka, & Lankavatara.

 :namaste:

There are different interpretations of Pure Land teachings. Finding Our True Home by Thich Nhat Hanh provides an English translation of the Shorter Amitabha Sutra, along with a commentary based on Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhist masters throughout history.

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: The Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2017, 02:27:47 am »
​In the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha explains his past life as Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. What this story tells us is that we ultimately attain Buddhahood through showing kindness to others, even in the face of adversity and harsh circumstances, rather than by scriptural knowledge.

It is only by humbling the ego-self that the Buddha within can shine through. Anyone who teaches that we can be mean and callous our entire lives, willfully ignoring the example of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging, and somehow attain Buddhahood anyway, is not teaching the Dharma.

http://www.rk-world.org/publications/lotussutra_B20.html


But how did Bodhisattva Never Disparaging attain this?  Certainly not through the willfull, self-driven excercise of mundane kindness.  Rather it arose from a profund realization of emptiness and 3-fold purity.


If that's what the Lotus Sutra itself says about Bodhisattva Never Disparaging, then sure.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: The Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2017, 06:19:15 am »

If that's what the Lotus Sutra itself says about Bodhisattva Never Disparaging, then sure.

Wow!

Let's move the goalposts while we're at it.

Offline Kodo308

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Re: The Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2017, 09:28:09 am »

If that's what the Lotus Sutra itself says about Bodhisattva Never Disparaging, then sure.

Wow!

Let's move the goalposts while we're at it.

Which goalposts got moved?

Offline Pixie

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Re: The Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2017, 02:28:09 pm »

For a Mahayana Buddhist, the Six Paramitas are where the rubber meets the road, which are more or less equivalent to the Eightfold Path of Theravada Buddhism:


 To be more accurate, they are very similar to some of the Ten Paramis in Theravada Buddhism, which are as follows:

1. Generosity.

2. Virtue.

3. Renunciation.

4. Wisdom, insight.

5. Energy, effort.

6. Patience.

7. Truthfulness.

8. Determination.

9. Loving Kindness.

10. Equanimity.


_/|\_
« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 02:32:18 pm by Pixie »
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline Kodo308

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Re: The Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2017, 05:44:53 pm »

 To be more accurate, they are very similar to some of the Ten Paramis in Theravada Buddhism, which are as follows:

1. Generosity.

2. Virtue.

3. Renunciation.

4. Wisdom, insight.

5. Energy, effort.

6. Patience.

7. Truthfulness.

8. Determination.

9. Loving Kindness.

10. Equanimity.


_/|\_

Sometimes Mahayana also refers to the 10 Paramitas, but it is more common to teach the Six.  :pray:

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: The Six Paramitas and the Eightfold Path
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2017, 09:07:43 pm »
Though I practice Pure Land practices, I don't consider myself exclusively a Pure Land Buddhist. In countries like China and Vietnam, it's rare that Pure Land Buddhism is seen as its own distinct sect. Instead, there's more of a general Mahayana Buddhism, in which Pure Land practices might be popular, but within the framework of practicing the Bodhisattva path.

 


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