Author Topic: INFLOWS  (Read 5686 times)

Offline PorkChop

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Re: INFLOWS
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2013, 12:24:36 pm »
Thanks, riiju.

If you don't mind, would you please cite the source (link) associated with what you wrote regarding Sariputta.

Thanks   :namaste:


I believe he's quoting the Lotus Sutra.

The idea that the Arhats have the same level of attainment was not and is not a universally accepted idea. There is nothing in those links that you provided that makes the statement that the attainments are the same and it's a bit disenginous to try to pass off those links as such. In fact Bhikkhu Bodhi has an excellent article covering just this very topic:
Quote from: Bhikkhu_Bodhi
Other arahants can certainly teach, and many do teach groups of disciples. Nevertheless, as teachers they do not compare with the Buddha. This is so in at least two respects: First, the Dhamma they teach others is one that comes from the Buddha, and thus ultimately the Buddha is the source of their wisdom; and second, their skills in teaching never match in all respects the skills of the Buddha, who is the only one who knows the path in its entirety. The Buddha can function so effectively as a teacher because his attainment of enlightenment — the knowledge of the four noble truths, which brings the destruction of the defilements — brings along the acquisition of several other types of knowledge that are considered special assets of a Buddha. Chief among these, according to the oldest sources, are the ten Tathāgata powers (see MN I 70-71), which include the knowledge of the diverse inclinations of beings (sattānaṃ nānādhimuttikataṃ yathābhūtaṃ ñāṇaṃ) and the knowledge of the degree of maturity of the faculties of other beings (parasattānaṃ parapuggalānaṃ indriyaparopariyattaṃ yathābhūtaṃ ñāṇaṃ). Such types of knowledge enable the Buddha to understand the mental proclivities and capacities of any person who comes to him for guidance, and to teach that person in the particular way that will prove most beneficial, taking full account of his or her character and personal circumstances. He is thus "the unsurpassed trainer of persons to be tamed." Whereas arahant disciples are limited in their communicative skills, the Buddha can communicate effectively with beings in many other realms of existence, as well as with people from many different walks of life. This skill singles him out as "the teacher of devas and humans."

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: INFLOWS
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2013, 02:33:23 pm »
Thank you for the correction.   Buddha referred to Sariputta in the highest regard and often recommended him as an expert in his knowledge of The Dhamma.  While Sariputta is not considered a samma sam buddha as was Gotama Buddha, he certainly was attained and was certainly qualified to teach The Dhamma to Bhikkhus:

My apologies if what I stated describing his position as Buddha's Right Hand Man was missing from the suttas provided. 

Suggest you read this instead with regard to the status of Arahants in The Buddhas eyes.:

Quote
The Buddha is the first of the arahants, while those who reach the goal by following his path also become arahants. In the verse of homage to the Buddha, it is said: "Iti pi so Bhagavā Arahaṃ... — The Blessed One is an arahant..." Shortly after his enlightenment, while walking to Benares to meet the five monks, a wanderer stopped the Buddha and asked who he was. The Buddha replied: "I am the arahant in the world, I am the supreme teacher" (MN 26/I 171). So the Buddha first of all declares himself to be an arahant. The defining mark of an arahant is the attainment of nirvāṇa in this present life. The word "arahant" was not coined by the Buddha but was current even before he appeared on the Indian religious scene. The word is derived from a verb arahati, meaning "to be worthy," and thus means a person who is truly worthy of veneration and offerings. Among Indian spiritual seekers in the Buddha's time, the word was used to denote a person who had attained the ultimate goal, for this is what made one worthy of veneration and offerings. From the perspective of the Nikāyas, the ultimate goal — the goal in strict doctrinal terms — is nirvāṇa, and the goal in human terms is arahantship, the state of a person who has attained nirvāṇa in this present life. The Buddha's enlightenment is significant because it marked the first realization of nirvāṇa within this historical epoch. We might say that the Buddha rises above the horizon of history as an arahant; in his historical manifestation he dawns upon human consciousness as an arahant.


Taken from Arahants, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas
by
Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi in Access to Insight.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/arahantsbodhisattvas.html

Again, hope this clarifies the point I was trying to make.



What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline PorkChop

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Re: INFLOWS
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2013, 03:04:11 pm »
Yes, that quote says that the Buddha was higher than all the other Arahants.
Or, as is elsewhere put in the same link we both provided:
Quote
Other arahants can certainly teach, and many do teach groups of disciples. Nevertheless, as teachers they do not compare with the Buddha.

Maybe I'm misreading your post, but your statement of "a billion bodhisattvah wannabe's" while maintaining the [EDIT: controversial] view that other Arahants are on the same level as the Buddha (even explicitly referring to the role of Buddha as teacher) just wreaks of polemics.

I'm not saying riju's right in pushing his own brand of polemics, but at least he's on the Mahayana subforum, posting quotes from a Mahayana sutra.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 04:37:37 pm by PorkChop »

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: INFLOWS
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2013, 05:00:33 pm »
It's not polemics --- if a Buddha arises in this world, I seriously doubt he (or she for that matter) would be received with open arms, least of all by a billion or so bodhisattvah wannabe's who would still believe that their own understanding of the Dharma takes precidence.





Offline PorkChop

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Re: INFLOWS
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2013, 06:47:21 pm »
It's not polemics --- if a Buddha arises in this world, I seriously doubt he (or she for that matter) would be received with open arms, least of all by a billion or so bodhisattvah wannabe's who would still believe that their own understanding of the Dharma takes precidence.

So you're asserting that a Perfectly Enlightened Buddha would arise in the world, where the previous Buddha's Dharma Dispensation still had active followers? and wouldn't be able to convince those followers that he/she was preaching proper Dharma? :wacky:

How enlightened could that "Buddha" be if they couldn't speak to the capacities/needs of their target audience?

Are you implying that all Buddhas do not preach the same Dharma? (especially poignant when for many, "Dharma" equates to "reality as it is").

The term "bodhisattvah wannabes" is itself polemical as there's an implication that none of them (ie bodhisattvas in training = bodhisattvas in various stages of the bhumis) have any clue as far as "reality as it is". In fact it's a blatant accusation of the people following the Bodhisattva-yana (something even recognized by Theravada) as practicing a-Dharma.

Last I heard, nobody in Mahayana was averse to Enlightenment, merely reluctant to rest in the peace of Parinirvana as long as sentient beings are still suffering (even given the statement of "any bodhisattva that perceives other sentient beings is not a bodhisattva"). This is even somewhat evident in Theravada as reciters of the suttas are implored to recite Ananda's request for the Buddha to stay in the world...

Last I heard, all Buddhas & Buddhist paths teach the 4 seals: all compounded things are impermanent, all impermanent things are suffering, all suffering is not-self (bereft of a permanent existence), Nirvana is beyond extremes (the middle path). Furthermore, the 4 noble truths and 8 fold path are also taught pretty universally...

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: INFLOWS
« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2013, 07:12:52 pm »
So you're asserting that a Perfectly Enlightened Buddha would arise in the world, where the previous Buddha's Dharma Dispensation still had active followers? and wouldn't be able to convince those followers that he/she was preaching proper Dharma? :wacky:

Human nature is human nature, where we tend to cling to what we believe is true, where whether or not the previous Buddha's dispensation still has active followers becomes a mute point, especially if one believe's they're actually in the Dharma Ending Age.

Are you implying that all Buddhas do not preach the same Dharma? (especially poignant when for many, "Dharma" equates to "reality as it is").

You answered this question yourself when you asked how enlightened that "Buddha" would be if they couldn't speak to the capacities/needs of their target audience.

The term "bodhisattvah wannabes" is itself polemical as there's an implication that none of them (ie bodhisattvas in training = bodhisattvas in various stages of the bhumis) have any clue as far as "reality as it is". In fact it's a blatant accusation of the people following the Bodhisattva-yana (something even recognized by Theravada) as practicing a-Dharma.

And yet there's practitioners of the so-called "greater" vehicle who still refer to the Theravada as "hinayana" (lessor or lower) --- a realized Bodhisattva would not recognize one as greater and one as lessor.


Offline PorkChop

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Re: INFLOWS
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2013, 08:13:43 pm »
Human nature is human nature, where we tend to cling to what we believe is true, where whether or not the previous Buddha's dispensation still has active followers becomes a mute point, especially if one believe's they're actually in the Dharma Ending Age.
That may depend on the tradition, because most traditions I know of would recognize the Dharma seals and recognize a realized Master. Not sure who "Dharma Ending Age" is a dig at, not all Mahayana people accept it. Some of those who do accept it, still teach doctrines that are completely consistent with the early Buddhists concepts of Stream Entry, Sakadagami, and Anagami.

You answered this question yourself when you asked how enlightened that "Buddha" would be if they couldn't speak to the capacities/needs of their target audience.
Not so much, because I still don't understand.
One of the qualifications of a Buddha would be preaching according to people's needs, even if they are currently practicing a "heretical" doctrine.

And yet there's practitioners of the so-called "greater" vehicle who still refer to the Theravada as "hinayana" (lessor or lower) --- a realized Bodhisattva would not recognize one as greater and one as lessor.
No fan of the "H" word here. Not sure I can even argue this point, as someone with Pure Land leanings. At various points in Mahayana history, Pure Land has also been accused of being a "H*yana" doctrine, even somewhat so for Ch'an/Zen. In fact, Pure Land sutras say if you want to become an Arahant in the Pure Land, you can be. Then again, my understanding of the "H" word is not that it's inferior, but more narrow - ie. only the best of the best can accomplish it (kinda like how high-end sports cars only seat 2). So at least there's that. :)

Caveat:
There are 2 things at play here, 1 is doctrine, the other is personal belief.
Doctrine says that the Samyaksam Buddha is the only one that gets full, perfect Enlightenment, once-a- kalpa, in a particular world, when another Sammyaksam Buddha's dispensation disappears. The Mahayana way around this (at least in the Lotus Sutra) is to be consciously manifest (not reborn) one more time in a place without a Buddha dispensation, or to wait eternity for all beings to become enlightened. Personally, I tend to have a different definition of "Buddha"... which may be more in line with what you're saying. Personally, I tend to reject the 'once in a kalpa sammyaksam Buddha' idea as anything more than a temporal occasion (perhaps emphasized so all the early Buddhists wouldn't become Jains after the death of Shakyamuni). "Buddha" in my definition refers to someone who completely understands "reality as it is" and can speak to the needs of the people he/she is talking to in order to alleviate their suffering & turn the wheel of Dharma, but may continue to act in the world to help others. Personally, I would call certain realized Theravadans, such as Ajahn Mun a "Buddha". This type of thinking would also be shared by almost any Mahayana path that talks about "Buddhahood in this lifetime" (ie Zen/Chan, Vajrayana, and others - dzogchen seems to have very strict requirements in regard to practice). "Arahant" in my definition strictly refers to someone who's cut all fetters, realized Nirvana, and managed to relieve their own suffering by resting in Parinirvana. In other words: "Not all Arahants are merely 'Arahants'". In fact, Nagarjuna and others implied that those in the second category merely parked themselves temporarily in some heaven, hence the idea showing up in the Lotus Sutra - but it also says that all sentient beings following the Buddha Dharma are Bodhisattvas (regardless of which wheel-turning). I really don't agree with the idea that people who have attained Arahant-ship require countless births to attain Buddhahood, but if they were really were Arahants, then they wouldn't mind anyway (equanimity and all that). The reason Shariputra gets particularly targeted, at least doctrinally (personally still unsure), is that there were various points where he didn't know how best to reach his audience and he was criticized for it. Even in the end, Shariputra couldn't convince his mother to follow the Buddha Dharma until her own patron deity (the great Brahma) paid him homage on his death bed. In fact, Subhuti (another "Arahant") is recognized in some forms of Tibetan Buddhism as one of the first manifestations of Amitabha Buddha. This leads into a whole different discussion as far as the phenomenological differences between Theravada and Mahayana philosophy. As off-base as my own ideas may sound, please note that early Mahayana and later Mahayana are different on these points. Personally, I try to recognized wisdom whatever school it's coming from.

Offline riju

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Re: INFLOWS
« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2013, 08:30:51 pm »
Thanks, riiju.

If you don't mind, would you please cite the source (link) associated with what you wrote regarding Sariputta.

Thanks   :namaste:


Lotus sutra .....translated by Burton Watson

chapter 3....Simile and Parable  Page 53

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: INFLOWS
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2013, 08:34:14 pm »
That may depend on the tradition, because most traditions I know of would recognize the Dharma seals and recognize a realized Master. Not sure who "Dharma Ending Age" is a dig at, not all Mahayana people accept it. Some of those who do accept it, still teach doctrines that are completely consistent with the early Buddhists concepts of Stream Entry, Sakadagami, and Anagami.

That was actually the point I was trying to make, more on a hypothetical level, that if the Buddha were to stand before us today and say that he didn't teach this or that, whether or not we would believe him, ect. --- the reference to the Dharma Ending Age wasn't a "dig", as there are many practioners who actually do believe that's where we are today.


Quote
No fan of the "H" word here. Not sure I can even argue this point, as someone with Pure Land leanings. At various points in Mahayana history, Pure Land has also been accused of being a "H*yana" doctrine, even somewhat so for Ch'an/Zen. In fact, Pure Land sutras say if you want to become an Arahant in the Pure Land, you can be. Then again, my understanding of the "H" word is not that it's inferior, but more narrow - ie. only the best of the best can accomplish it (kinda like how high-end sports cars only seat 2). So at least there's that. :)

I often hear a similar argument about the Paramitayana, the vehicle of perfection, that it's difficult and time consuming, ect.


Quote
As off-base as my own ideas may sound, please note that early Mahayana and later Mahayana are different on these points. Personally, I try to recognized wisdom whatever school it's coming from.

PorkChop, it's not off-base at all --- my preceptor echoed the same words, myself as well  :namaste:

Offline PorkChop

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Re: INFLOWS
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2013, 08:59:19 pm »
--- the reference to the Dharma Ending Age wasn't a "dig", as there are many practioners who actually do believe that's where we are today.

As far as the "Dharma Ending Age", reading your thread where you quote the Mahayana Sutra, I don't have much problem accepting that. At the same time, even given the acceptance of the view that this is the Dharma Ending Age, certain paths teach you to be humble, to Never Disparage other sects, to take a stance that recommends faith over doubt, to understand the limited & defiled nature of Self, to understand that rites and rituals will not lead to escape from Samsara - these are the guidelines of the Stream Enterer. Furthermore, sensuality & hatred/aversion are discouraged due to the temporary nature of that which is pleasurable, and that one should experience gratitude for any challenges encountered instead of hatred - these are the guidelines of the Sakadagami & the perfection of which lead to the state of the Anagami. Certainly these standpoints are preferable to the viewpoints that lead to further toiling in the endless realm of Samsara. If practitioners truly followed these guidelines, they'd experience nothing but gratitude for another Tathagata appearing in this defiled world.

Agree with everything else you said, glad we could find some common ground.  :anjali:

Offline riju

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Re: INFLOWS
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2013, 09:16:51 pm »
I have written this earlier as well.

1. No one can become a Buddha till the one has passed thro the experience of an arihant. Arihant stage is a NO SELF stage. In this state one gets the full wisdom of Emptiness of all dharmas.

But if one remains in that state and does not recognise the suffering (due to ignorance)of existence, his achievement gets WASTED.

But a real Arihant understands the situation alround. He then searches for further answers. And in this stage he gets connected with Buddhas (WISDOMS)
of the universe.

And then he starts on the path of  Mahayana or a personal growth by restricting  OUTFLOWS and accepting INFLOWS.

This is called Bhoddisattva stage.

Arihant is a qualifying stage for admission to higher path.

Bhoddisattvas and Buddhas take part in the formation of coming universe. The next coming universe is based on their experience gathered in previous universe and will always be a better one.

THIS IS THE PATH OF COSMIC EVOLUTION.

Offline riju

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Re: INFLOWS
« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2013, 09:23:24 pm »

"Dharma Ending Age",

Quote from Lotus sutra ...chapter 13. Last para

At that time the bodhisattvas joined their voices together and spoke in verse form, saying:

We beg you not to worry.
After the Buddha has passed into extinction,
in an age of fear and evil
we will preach far and wide.
There will be many ignorant people
who will curse and speak ill of us
and will attack us with swords and staves,
but we will endure all these things.
In that evil age there will be monks
with perverse wisdom and hearts that are fawning and crooked
who will suppose they have attained what they have not attained,
being proud and boastful in heart.
Or there will be forest-dwelling monks
wearing clothing of patched rags and living in retirement,
who will claim they are practicing the true way,
despising and looking down on all humankind.
Greedy for profit and support,
they will preach the law to white-robed laymen
and will be respected and revered by the world
as though they were arhats who possess the six
transcendental powers.
These men with evil in their hearts,
constantly thinking of worldly affairs,
will borrow the name of forest-dwelling monks
and take delight in proclaiming our faults,
saying things like this:
"These monks are greedy
for profit and support
and therefore they preach non-Buddhist doctrines
and fabricate their own scriptures
to delude the people of the world.
Because they hope to gain fame and renown thereby
they make distinctions when preaching this sutra."
Because in the midst of the great assembly
they constantly try to defame us,
they will address the rulers, high ministers,
Brahmans and householders,
as well as other monks,
slandering and speaking evil of us,
saying, "These are men of perverted views
who preach non-Buddhist doctrines!"
But because we revere the Buddha
we will bear all these evils.
Though they treat us with contempt, saying,
"You are all no doubt Buddhas!"
All such words of arrogance and contempt
we will endure and accept.
In a muddied kalpa, in an evil age
there will be many things to fear.
Evil demons will take possession of others
and through them curse, revile and heap shame on us.
But we, reverently trusting in the Buddha,
will put on the armor of perseverance.
In order to preach this sutra
we will bear these difficult things.
We care nothing for our bodies or lives
but are anxious only for the unsurpassed way.
In ages to come we will protect and uphold
what the Buddha has entrusted to us.
This the World-Honored One must know.
The evil monks of that muddied age,
failing to understand the Buddha's expedient means,
how he preaches the Law in accordance with what is appropriate,
will confront us with foul language and angry frowns;
again and again we will be banished
to a place far removed from towers and temples.
All these various evils,
because they keep in mind the Buddha's orders,
we will endure.
If in the settlements and towns
of those who seek the Law,
we will go to wherever they are
and preach the Law entrusted by the Buddha.
We will be envoys of the World-Honored One,
facing the assembly without fear.
We will preach the law with skill,
for we desire the Buddha to rest in tranquility.
In the presence of the World-Honored One
and of the Buddhas who have gathered from the ten directions
to proclaim this vow.
The Buddha must know what is in our hearts.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: INFLOWS
« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2013, 09:42:20 pm »
--- the reference to the Dharma Ending Age wasn't a "dig", as there are many practioners who actually do believe that's where we are today.

As far as the "Dharma Ending Age", reading your thread where you quote the Mahayana Sutra, I don't have much problem accepting that. At the same time, even given the acceptance of the view that this is the Dharma Ending Age, certain paths teach you to be humble, to Never Disparage other sects, to take a stance that recommends faith over doubt, to understand the limited & defiled nature of Self, to understand that rites and rituals will not lead to escape from Samsara - these are the guidelines of the Stream Enterer. Furthermore, sensuality & hatred/aversion are discouraged due to the temporary nature of that which is pleasurable, and that one should experience gratitude for any challenges encountered instead of hatred - these are the guidelines of the Sakadagami & the perfection of which lead to the state of the Anagami. Certainly these standpoints are preferable to the viewpoints that lead to further toiling in the endless realm of Samsara. If practitioners truly followed these guidelines, they'd experience nothing but gratitude for another Tathagata appearing in this defiled world.

Agree with everything else you said, glad we could find some common ground.  :anjali:

Actually, I tend to believe this might be a reocurring theme more than a one time prophesy, that this "dharma ending age" comes in cycles --- of course, there's nothing to support this canonically speaking, but when you look through the over-all history of the Buddhhist tradition, it seems to have occured several times.

Offline riju

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Re: INFLOWS
« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2013, 09:56:02 pm »
There are many stages of Arihant.

But I would separate Arihants in two major stages.

Below the line one can call them "foolish Arihants'
Above the line one can call them "Wise Arihants"

A fool arihant understands the emptiness of all dharmas but does not understand the real EMPTINESS (source of  creation of universe)

A wise arihant understands the emptiness of all dharmas but also understands the EMPTINESS to some extent. He understands the UNITY of existence. So question arise in him when he sees the sufferings in his surroundings.

Those who did not accept "Sutra of one vehicle" even from the mouth of Goutam Buddha were fool Arihants.

Offline riju

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Re: INFLOWS
« Reply #29 on: August 15, 2013, 10:36:33 pm »
"process from one stage of arihant to next higher stage of arihant"

An arihant (NO SELF) looks around with COMPASSION at sufferings of others.
He sees their sufferings as his sufferings due to UNITY of this creation. At this stage he loses his Arihant stage and actually suffers for others.This process is of INFLOWS of sufferings.

Next he sits in meditation and having tasted Arihant (no self or emptiness of all dharmas), he nullifies those inflow of sufferings and grows to higher stage of Arihant.

This is what Buddha taught to MAHAYANISTS.


 


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