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esteem for the Buddha

genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
Most, I imagine, who are interested in Buddhism find Gautama ("the Buddha") an estimable man, a man worth emulating, and sometimes a man worth adoring. He is seen as an example of what a Buddhist might like to become ... or become like ... or something like that. Gautama is honored, revered, esteemed.

But did anyone else ever wonder what Gautama thought of himself? Others may revere Gautama, but does it seem likely that Gautama revered himself? Or Jesus or Mohammad or any other spiritual bright light? Did such objects of reverence and esteem revere and esteem themselves?

It seems highly unlikely to me.

But if they did not revere themselves and if we revere them in an effort to emulate what we revere, how much sense does our own reverence make?

Yes, yes ... I can hear the Jesuit-Buddhists sharpening their slick wits: "We don't revere the man," they say. "We are touched and seek to emulate and actualize what he pointed to." That sounds kool but it sidesteps the question of our own reverence and whatever reverence Gautama may have had.

Just chewing my cud here. Thoughts?

Comments

  • CittaCitta Veteran
    There is no reason to suppose that the Buddha 'revered' himself..But he was apparently in no doubt about his own status..the same sources that tell us about his life tell us that he described himself as 'The teacher of gods and men '.
    Likewise Jesus did not hide his light under a bushel. He said ' You have called me teacher and Lord, and you are right to do so, because I am.' John 13.13.

    Those pronouncements may not have come from an egoic mindset, but neither are they evidence of a flattened hierachy or backwards projected social levelling no matter how much more comfortable some American sensibilities are with that idea than with the concept that not all are born equal..
    karmabluesvinlyn
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    @Citta -- I take your point: By presumption, Gautama was not just ego-tripping. And, OK, all pigs are not created equal. But I still wonder if the sometimes-glittering appreciations of the less-equal pigs do not impede the path they choose to travel. Or is it just par for the human/porcine course?
  • I think a lot of gifted folks are not concerned about self esteem or self reverence or even popularity...infact are perhaps if anything...feel burdened and have sacrificed a lot. And at some level feel that their student or admirers are hellhounds on trail. "No good deed goes unpunished"
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    genkaku said:

    @Citta -- I take your point: By presumption, Gautama was not just ego-tripping. And, OK, all pigs are not created equal. But I still wonder if the sometimes-glittering appreciations of the less-equal pigs do not impede the path they choose to travel. Or is it just par for the human/porcine course?

    I see it rather differently. I see role models as authentic inspiration, not obstacles.
    karmablues
  • Buddha is the enlightened one. The only way to find out how he feels about himself is to become an enlightened one yourself.
  • aMattaMatt Veteran
    Perhaps like a raft. We create reverence, cultivate faith, and absorb their teachings. Buddha said he was the embodiment of awake qualities beyond self grasping. Wow! Then said we are all just like him except we have the qualities of self grasping, which the teachings erode. Wow! As we really drink that deeply, the reverence for the man becomes secondary to the qualities, which are in us. Much like metta practice, where we cultivate warmth for easy and move to difficult. We have reverence for the man, and then for ourselves... and we can become the same embodiment.

    I found the "discuss" proclamation to be off putting for some reason. Back to the cushion for me!
    riverflowTheswingisyellowVastmind
  • @aMatt put it better than I can, but...

    I'd say the dharma has a place for teachers inspiring the student in practice... we need all the encouragement we can get!

    But then comes a point of diminishing returns when the student's practice deepens, at which point inspiration ceases to function as an important motivator.

    From that point, the teacher can become an obstacle. A good teacher will see this, and recognize the student clinging to what has now developed into an unhelpful image.

    In order for the crane to make survive, it must eventually fly from the nest to make its own-- important skills that its mother passes on to its offspring.

    It doesn't have to be an either/or proposition.
  • This is a question of context. Showing esteem, irreverence or ignoring the dharma as appropriate.
    We bow to the Buddha when beginners. We bow to the sangha when humbled. We are bowed by the dharma when on the way.

    Then one day the Buddha arrives . . . [to be continued]
    riverflow
  • There is a dropping away of self.
    lobster
  • zenffzenff Veteran
    I don’t remember a story about the life of the Buddha where he laughs.
    Did he lose his sense of humor after enlightenment? Didn’t he have one in the first place?
    Humor is not mentioned in any list of mental qualities; it isn’t one of the seven factors of enlightenment it isn’t a paramita it isn’t a brahmavihara; nothing.

    Our images of the Buddha are our images. When we think he was overly serious and preoccupied with sickness, old age and death; that says something about us, not about him.
    When we think he was serene and happy all the time and that he endured his headaches with a smile on his face; that says something about us, not about him.
    The only Buddha we know is the one we create in our stories.

    Revering the Buddha, killing the Buddha; it’s just the games we play. Our relationship with the Buddha is like the relationship of a child with her doll.
    Jeffrey
  • No Buddha knock knock jokes? :D
  • aMattaMatt Veteran
    edited August 2013
    zenff said:

    I don’t remember a story about the life of the Buddha where he laughs.
    Did he lose his sense of humor after enlightenment?

    Bhikkhus laugh! :) Perhaps keeping an oral history parses out the knock knock jokes... it was a lot of information to aim through history. We don't read much about him that have his mundane qualities, except where it teaches something. "One day the Blessed One was sitting by the river. He farted, got up, and did some yoga." I mean, really? He left a lot of teachings, but maybe only a few megs of data... and he had to biologically encode it.

    It seems safe to say that we can consider those who spend a lot of time following the teachings at least moving in the same direction. Monks seem to laugh a lot. More than that, who knows? Lots of people seem to take things very serious, as though sober means somber. Its only life after all!

    With warmth,
    Matt
  • My teacher has an awesome sense of humor. I suspect Buddha did too.
    lobster
  • Jeffrey said:

    No Buddha knock knock jokes? :D

    Q: What do you call a teaching Buddha about to fart by a river?
    A: A stream entrant

    knock knock
    who is there
    Buddha
    Buddha who
    Buddha who knocks on doors
    (wot you mean ''not funny' . . . I'm enlightened just so you know! . . . not funny, my non farting ass)
    misterCope
  • karmablueskarmablues Veteran
    edited August 2013
    It is said in the Pali Canon that after his enlightenment, the Buddha decided to give his first sermon in Benares and on the way there he met Upaka who, struck by the serene appearance of the Buddha, inquired: "Who is your teacher? Whose teachings do you profess?"

    The Buddha replied:
    "I have no teacher, in the world of men and gods none is my counterpart, for I am the Peerless Teacher, the Arahant. I alone am Supremely Enlightened. Quenching all defilements, Nibbana’s calm have I attained. I go to the city of Benares to set in motion the Wheel of Dhamma. In a world where blindness reigns, I shall beat the Deathless Drum."
    When he reached Benares and met the five ascetics whom he had chosen to deliver his first sermon, they all regarded the Buddha as their equal and addressed him by his name Gotama and irreverently with the appellation "my friend". The Buddha sat on the prepared seat and spoke to them as follows:
    "Bhikkhus, do not address me by the name Gotama nor as a friend. I have become a Perfect One, worthy of the greatest reverence. Supremely accomplished like the Buddhas of yore, fully Enlightened...."
    Thus it is clear that the Buddha encouraged others to treat him with reverence. It was definitely not out of an egoistic mindset as others have pointed out, but I believe it is out of compassion because not showing respect/reverence to someone who is worthy of respect/reverence is considered to be an act of negative karma as declared in the Cula-kammavibhanga Sutta:
    Here, student, some woman or man is obdurate and haughty; he does not pay homage to whom he should pay homage, or rise up for whom he should rise up, or give a seat to whom he should give a seat, or make way for whom he should make way, or worship him who should be worshipped, or respect him who should be respected, or revere him who should be revered, or honor him who should be honored. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell. If, on the dissolution of the body, after death, instead of his reappearing in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell, [he] instead comes to the human state, he is low-born wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to low birth, that is to say, to be obdurate and haughty, not to pay homage to whom he should pay homage, nor rise up for..., nor give a seat to..., nor make way for..., nor worship..., nor respect..., nor revere..., nor honor him who should be honored.
    In the Mangala Sutta, the Buddha said reverence is one of the "greatest blessings":

    To be respectful/reverent, humble, contented and grateful; and to listen to the Dhamma on due occasions — this is the greatest blessing.
    The Sutta's commentary as edited by Bhikkhu Khantipalo explains the importance of reverence/respectfulness as follows:
    Some people do not like to show respect, or to express reverence, even when it is quite proper to do so in the presence of those who have greater and purer conduct in mind, speech and body, than they have. Such people suffer from pride, they estimate themselves too highly and do not want to admit that others could have achieved more than themselves. They are, so to speak, "standing in their own light" and they will not be able to see the right way to go. Their pride will only lead them to the strengthening of other defilements of mind, and so they go from bad to worse. They have shut the door in their own faces and can go no further. And how they quarrel with others!

    Respectful persons are not like this. They are a pleasure to live and associate with, unlike people with much pride. They not only "fit" well into whatever society they are in, they also have the ability to learn more since they recognize that others know more than they do. So they have one of the factors necessary for any progress, whether in worldly prosperity or on the Path of Dhamma. We shall see later that humility is another "Blessing." This practice of honoring the honorable is the foundation for humility.

    .......

    "Reverence". This includes the proper veneration of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, and respect for parents and teachers, wise people, good persons and elders — in fact, a general high regard for everyone.... the arahant-disciples too had reverence for the Buddha as their guide, for the Dhamma, for other senior bhikkhus and for the way of training.

    The further one has gone along the path of Dhamma the more reverence one has for it — and for others who also practice correctly. It is not that reverence grows less as one practices! This is a way of estimating one's own position, for if a lot of pride and conceit can be seen then one has not got very far!

    How does one show respect or reverence? The Buddha says that one gives such a person a good seat, stands up to receive them, makes way for them and, for religious teachers, one places one's hands together and bows at their feet. This is a blessing resulting in good future births and harmony in the present life.
    Reverence for the Buddha can also be seen as a useful meditative skill in accordance with the Mahanama Sutta:
    There is the case where you recollect the Tathagata: 'Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed.' At any time when a disciple of the noble ones is recollecting the Tathagata, his mind is not overcome with passion, not overcome with aversion, not overcome with delusion. His mind heads straight, based on the Tathagata. And when the mind is headed straight, the disciple of the noble ones gains a sense of the goal, gains a sense of the Dhamma, gains joy connected with the Dhamma. In one who is joyful, rapture arises. In one who is rapturous, the body grows calm. One whose body is calmed experiences ease. In one at ease, the mind becomes concentrated.

    Of one who does this, Mahanama, it is said: 'Among those who are out of tune, the disciple of the noble ones dwells in tune; among those who are malicious, he dwells without malice; having attained the stream of Dhamma, he develops the recollection of the Buddha.'
    The Buddha's leading disciples were also often depicted in the Pali Canon as showing great reverence. For example, Nyanaponika Thera says that:
    We are told in the Commentary to the Nava Sutta (Sutta-Nipata), and also in the Commentary to verse 392 of the Dhammapada, that whenever Ven. Sariputta lived in the same monastery as the Elder Assaji, he always went to pay obeisance to him immediately after having done so to the Blessed One. This he did out of reverence, thinking: "This venerable one was my first teacher. It was through him that I came to know the Buddha's Dispensation." And when the Elder Assaji lived in another monastery, Ven. Sariputta used to face the direction in which the Elder Assaji was living, and to pay homage to him by touching the ground at five places (with the head, hands and feet), and saluting with joined palms.

    But this led to misunderstanding, for when other monks saw it they said: "After becoming a Chief Disciple, Sariputta still worships the heavenly quarters! Even today he cannot give up his brahmanical views!" Hearing these remarks, the Blessed One said: "It is not so, bhikkhus. Sariputta does not worship the heavenly quarters. He salutes him through whom he came to know the Dhamma. It is him he salutes, worships and reveres as his teacher. Sariputta is one who gives devout respect to his teacher." It was then that the Blessed One preached to the monks assembled there the Nava Sutta, which starts with the words:

    "As gods their homage pay to Indra,
    So should a man give reverence to him
    From whom he learned the Dhamma."

    In the Mahayana Tradition, under the ten great vows of Bodhisattva Samantabhadra found in the Avatamsaka Sutra, the first vow is to worship and respect all Buddhas, while the second vow is to praise the Buddhas. These two vows are elaborated as follows:
    Before the Buddha’s "Lions Among Men,"
    Through out the worlds of the ten directions,
    in the past, in the present, and also in the future,
    With Body, Speech and Mind entirely pure,
    I bow down before them all, omitting none.

    With the awesome power of Samantabhadra’s Vows,
    I appear at the same time before every Buddha,
    And in transformed bodies as numerous as motes of dust in all lands,
    Bow to the Buddha’s as numerous as motes of dust in all lands.

    With oceans of sound I every where let fall
    Words and phrases, wonderful and endless,
    Which now and through all the eons of the future,
    Praise the wide, deep sea of the Buddha’s Merits and Virtues.

    Flower garlands, supreme and wonderful,
    Music, perfume, parasols, and canopies,
    And other decorations rich and rare,
    I offer to every Buddha.

    Fine clothing, superior incense,
    Powdered and burning incense, lamps and candles,
    Each one heaped up as high as mount Sumeru,
    I offer completely to all Buddha’s

    With a vast, great, supremely liberated mind,
    I believe in all Buddha’s of the three periods of time,
    With the strength of Samantrabhadras conduct and vows
    I make offerings to all Buddha’s everywhere.

    ......

    When the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra finished speaking these pure verses on the Great Vows of Samantabhadra before the Buddha, the youth Sudhana was overwhelmed with boundless joy. All the Bodhisattvas were extremely happy as well, and the Buddha applauded saying, "Good indeed!"
    Cittaseeker242Jeffreyzsc
  • zenffzenff Veteran
    edited August 2013
    I agree.
    There are some great tennis players around and musicians and thinkers and more.
    I’m just not the kind of person who kisses the ground that they walk on and I’m not going to bow to the ground for my Sampras- or my John Lennon-altar or build a temple around their bones when they’re dead.

  • CittaCitta Veteran
    Neither am I.
    Neither am I going to pretend that I could have invented the concept of Dependent Origination.
  • zenffzenff Veteran
    See, we agree.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    appreciation does not have to equal worship.
    CittaMaryAnne
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited August 2013
    No. Even when that appreciation means holding someone in high esteem.
    How sad, to think of a heart not stirred by greatness.
    How limiting, to suffer from Tall Poppy syndrome.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran



    In the Mahayana Tradition, under the ten great vows of Bodhisattva Samantabhadra found in the Avatamsaka Sutra, the first vow is to worship and respect all Buddhas, while the second vow is to praise the Buddhas. These two vows are elaborated as follows:

    This starts to get interesting when you start reading Bodhidharma. :lol:
    Buddhas don’t save Buddhas. If you use your mind to look for a Buddha, you won’t see the Buddha. As long as you look for a Buddha somewhere else, you’ll never see that your own mind is the Buddha.

    Don’t use a Buddha to worship a Buddha. And don’t use the mind to invoke a Buddha." Buddhas don’t recite sutras." Buddhas don’t keep precepts." And Buddhas don’t break precepts. Buddhas don’t keep or break anything. Buddhas don’t do good or evil.

    To find a Buddha, you have to see your nature. Whoever sees his nature is a Buddha. If you don’t see your nature, invoking Buddhas, reciting sutras, making offerings, and keeping precepts are all useless. Invoking Buddhas results in good karma, reciting sutras results in a good memory; keeping precepts results in a good rebirth, and making offerings results in future blessings-but no buddha.

    ...

    Our nature is the mind. And the mind is our nature. This nature is the same as the mind of all Buddhas. Buddhas of the past and future only transmit this mind. Beyond this mind there’s no Buddha anywhere. But deluded people don’t realize that their own mind is the Buddha. They keep searching outside. They never stop invoking Buddhas or worshipping Buddhas and wondering Where is the buddha? Don’t indulge in such illusions. Just know your mind. Beyond your mind there’s no other Buddha. The sutras say, "Everything that has form is an illusion." They also say, "Wherever you are, there’s a Buddha." Your mind is the Buddha. Don’t use a Buddha to worship a Buddha.

    Even if a Buddha or bodhisattva" should suddenly appear before you, there’s no need for reverence. This mind of ours is empty and contains no such form. Those who hold onto appearances are devils. They fall from the Path. Why worship illusions born of the mind? Those who worship don’t know, and those who know don’t worship. By worshipping you come under the spell of devils. I point this out because I'm afraid you’re unaware of it. The basic nature of a Buddha has no such form. Keep this in mind, even if something unusual should appear. Don’t embrace it, and don’t fear it, and don’t doubt that your Mind is basically pure. Where could there be room for any such form?

    Also, at the appearance of spirits, demons, or divine conceive neither respect nor fear. Your mind is basically empty. All appearances are illusions. Don’t hold on to appearances. If you envision a Buddha, a Dharma, or a bodhisattva" and conceive respect for them, you relegate yourself to the realm of mortals. If you seek direct understanding, don’t hold on to any appearance whatsoever, and you’ll succeed. I have no other advice.

    The sutras say, "All appearances are illusions." They have no fixed existence, or constant form. They’re impermanent. Don’t cling to appearances and you’ll be of one mind with the Buddha. The sutras say, "’That which is free of all form is the Buddha."

    But why shouldn’t we worship Buddhas and bodhisattvas?

    Devils and demons possess the power of manifestation. They can create the appearance of bodhisattvas in all sorts of guises. But they’re false. None of them are Buddhas. The Buddha is your own mind. Don’t misdirect your worship.
    karmablues
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited August 2013
    You mean the Bodhidharma that most scholars now believe is mythical ?
    And what has any of that to do with holding the historical Buddha in high esteem ?
    Are you saying that holding him in high esteem is somehow inspired by devils ?
    That Buddham Saranam Gacchami recited in front of a Buddharupa portraying Shakyamuni is demonic?
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited August 2013
    Linji Yixuan has something to say about it also!
    "Followers of the Way [of Chán], if you want to get the kind of understanding that accords with the Dharma, never be misled by others. Whether you're facing inward or facing outward, whatever you meet up with, just kill it! If you meet a buddha, kill the buddha. If you meet a patriarch, kill the patriarch. If you meet an arhat, kill the arhat. If you meet your parents, kill your parents. If you meet your kinfolk, kill your kinfolk. Then for the first time you will gain emancipation, will not be entangled with things, will pass freely anywhere you wish to go"

    "Those who have fulfilled the ten stages of bodhisattva practice are no better than hired field hands; those who have attained the enlightenment of the fifty-first and fifty-second stages are prisoners shackled and bound; arhats and pratyekabuddhas are so much filth in the latrine; bodhi and nirvana are hitching posts for donkeys"
  • zenffzenff Veteran
    Another thing I just thought of is what I heard as a Buddhist teaching. It teaches us not to identify the person with his actions.
    Buddhism knows “bad” (akusala) actions. Not “bad” people.
    In the same way there are “good” (kusala) actions not “good” people.
    There is no such thing as an inherent fixed quality to a person. There are actions and consequences.

    So – in line with this – I imagine that the Buddha would have told people to think about his teachings and to apply them and to refrain from worshipping him personally.
    Vastmindkarmablues
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited August 2013
    Oh I see, its just the usual seeker242 lurid hyperbole...you missed your vocation as a blood and thunder preacher mate.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    Citta said:

    Oh I see its just the usual seeker242 lurid hyperbole...

    And the usual Citta "ad hominem" personal attacks! Waat Chaaa! :lol:
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    zenff said:

    Another thing I just thought of is what I heard as a Buddhist teaching. It teaches us not to identify the person with his actions.
    Buddhism knows “bad” (akusala) actions. Not “bad” people.
    In the same way there are “good” (kusala) actions not “good” people.
    There is no such thing as an inherent fixed quality to a person. There are actions and consequences.

    So – in line with this – I imagine that the Buddha would have told people to think about his teachings and to apply them and to refrain from worshipping him personally.

    Do you know people who worship the Buddha personally then ? How worrying. I have not come across that.
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    Citta said:

    You mean the Bodhidharma that most scholars now believe is mythical ?
    And what has any of that to do with holding the historical Buddha in high esteem ?
    Are you saying that holding him in high esteem is somehow inspired by devils ?
    That Buddham Saranam Gacchami recited in front of a Buddharupa portraying Shakyamuni is demonic?

    I notice seeker242 that you decided to bypass this...
  • zenffzenff Veteran
    And another thought; it’s more important to be kind and respectful to the people around us than to have devout feelings for a dead statue of the Buddha.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    Citta said:

    Citta said:

    You mean the Bodhidharma that most scholars now believe is mythical ?
    And what has any of that to do with holding the historical Buddha in high esteem ?
    Are you saying that holding him in high esteem is somehow inspired by devils ?
    That Buddham Saranam Gacchami recited in front of a Buddharupa portraying Shakyamuni is demonic?

    I notice seeker242 that you decided to bypass this...
    And? So what? I'm not interested in addressing your personal attacks.

  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited August 2013
    You know people who have devout feelings for dead statues of the Buddha ? Gosh .
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    seeker242 said:



    In the Mahayana Tradition, under the ten great vows of Bodhisattva Samantabhadra found in the Avatamsaka Sutra, the first vow is to worship and respect all Buddhas, while the second vow is to praise the Buddhas. These two vows are elaborated as follows:

    This starts to get interesting when you start reading Bodhidharma. :lol:
    Buddhas don’t save Buddhas. If you use your mind to look for a Buddha, you won’t see the Buddha. As long as you look for a Buddha somewhere else, you’ll never see that your own mind is the Buddha.

    Don’t use a Buddha to worship a Buddha. And don’t use the mind to invoke a Buddha." Buddhas don’t recite sutras." Buddhas don’t keep precepts." And Buddhas don’t break precepts. Buddhas don’t keep or break anything. Buddhas don’t do good or evil.

    To find a Buddha, you have to see your nature. Whoever sees his nature is a Buddha. If you don’t see your nature, invoking Buddhas, reciting sutras, making offerings, and keeping precepts are all useless. Invoking Buddhas results in good karma, reciting sutras results in a good memory; keeping precepts results in a good rebirth, and making offerings results in future blessings-but no buddha.

    ...

    Our nature is the mind. And the mind is our nature. This nature is the same as the mind of all Buddhas. Buddhas of the past and future only transmit this mind. Beyond this mind there’s no Buddha anywhere. But deluded people don’t realize that their own mind is the Buddha. They keep searching outside. They never stop invoking Buddhas or worshipping Buddhas and wondering Where is the buddha? Don’t indulge in such illusions. Just know your mind. Beyond your mind there’s no other Buddha. The sutras say, "Everything that has form is an illusion." They also say, "Wherever you are, there’s a Buddha." Your mind is the Buddha. Don’t use a Buddha to worship a Buddha.

    Even if a Buddha or bodhisattva" should suddenly appear before you, there’s no need for reverence. This mind of ours is empty and contains no such form. Those who hold onto appearances are devils. They fall from the Path. Why worship illusions born of the mind? Those who worship don’t know, and those who know don’t worship. By worshipping you come under the spell of devils. I point this out because I'm afraid you’re unaware of it. The basic nature of a Buddha has no such form. Keep this in mind, even if something unusual should appear. Don’t embrace it, and don’t fear it, and don’t doubt that your Mind is basically pure. Where could there be room for any such form?

    Also, at the appearance of spirits, demons, or divine conceive neither respect nor fear. Your mind is basically empty. All appearances are illusions. Don’t hold on to appearances. If you envision a Buddha, a Dharma, or a bodhisattva" and conceive respect for them, you relegate yourself to the realm of mortals. If you seek direct understanding, don’t hold on to any appearance whatsoever, and you’ll succeed. I have no other advice.

    The sutras say, "All appearances are illusions." They have no fixed existence, or constant form. They’re impermanent. Don’t cling to appearances and you’ll be of one mind with the Buddha. The sutras say, "’That which is free of all form is the Buddha."

    But why shouldn’t we worship Buddhas and bodhisattvas?

    Devils and demons possess the power of manifestation. They can create the appearance of bodhisattvas in all sorts of guises. But they’re false. None of them are Buddhas. The Buddha is your own mind. Don’t misdirect your worship.
    Whereas THIS was a considered and balanced response to a discussion about holding the Buddha in high esteem seeker 242 ?
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited August 2013
    Citta said:



    Whereas THIS was a considered and balanced response to a discussion about holding the Buddha in high esteem seeker 242 ?

    You got it!
  • So it is wrong to respect the Buddha? Interesting...
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    Jeffrey said:

    So it is wrong to respect the Buddha? Interesting...

    Isn't it ?


    :)
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    Citta said:

    Jeffrey said:

    So it is wrong to respect the Buddha? Interesting...

    Isn't it ?


    :)
    I know! That's what I said! :lol:
  • There is a market for Buddha dart boards? That's a business opportunity if I ever saw one. Ha!
  • howhow Veteran
    edited August 2013
    The Buddha to me represents someone steadfastly attending to sufferings cause and the path to its cessation.

    My esteem is for my, his or anyone elses efforts on this path.




    Vastmindlobsterkarmablues
  • karmablueskarmablues Veteran
    edited August 2013
    @seeker242

    I think I kind of understand Bodhidharma's perspective. Here at some points he is speaking at the level of ultimate truth like how Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara spoke in the Heart Sutra. But I think his approach is not yet full blown ultimate truth either.

    For example, Bodhidharma says:
    Our nature is the mind. And the mind is our nature. This nature is the same as the mind of all Buddhas. Buddhas of the past and future only transmit this mind. Beyond this mind there’s no Buddha anywhere. But deluded people don’t realize that their own mind is the Buddha. They keep searching outside.... Even if a Buddha or bodhisattva" should suddenly appear before you, there’s no need for reverence. This mind of ours is empty and contains no such form. Those who hold onto appearances are devils. They fall from the Path. Why worship illusions born of the mind?.... The Buddha is your own mind. Don’t misdirect your worship.
    But in the Heart Sutra, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara says there is "no mind", there is "no mind-consciousness" and there is "no path" either. So the Heart Sutra provides yet another level of perspective to view the issue.

    Personally, I think it would be more practical/useful to express the issue of reverence for the Buddha in the Middle Way format. So we can say that at the level of conventional truth there is a Buddha and we should pay reverence, while in the sense of the ultimate truth there is no Buddha and nothing to worship. So combining both truths we might say, as an expression of the Middle Way, that we should observe the practice of paying homage to the Buddha but that such practice is both reverence and non-reverence.

    The Pali Canon addresses the issue entirely within the realm of conventional truth to give some practical advice. So in the Pali Canon, the Buddha distinguished two ways of paying reverence to him. One is material offerings (amisa puja - for example, offering incense, flowers, etc.) and the other is practice offerings (patipatti puja - for example, observing the precepts, practicing meditation, etc.) and the Buddha said that the latter is supreme.

    In the Dhammapada Atthakatha, we find the following story of Thera Dhammarama:
    While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 364 of the Dhammapada, with reference to Thera Dhammarama.

    When it was made known to the disciples that the Buddha would enter Nirvana in four months' time, most of the Bhikkhus felt extremely depressed and were at a loss and did not know what to do. They just stayed close to the Buddha, hardly ever leaving his presence. However, there was a Bhikkhu by the name of Dhammarama who kept to himself and did not go near the Buddha. His intention was to strive most ardently to attain arahatship before the passing away of the Buddha. So he strove hard in meditation practice. Other Bhikkhus, not understanding his attitude and his noble ambition, misunderstood his behaviour.

    Those Bhikkhus took Dhammarama to the Buddha and said to the Enlightened One, "Venerable Sir! This Bhikkhu does not seem to have any affection or regard or reverence for you; he has been staying by himself while all the time other Bhikkhus are staying close to Your Venerable presence." When other Bhikkhus had said everything they wanted to say, Dhammarama respectfully explained to the Buddha why he had not come to see the Buddha and also reported that he had been striving his utmost in practicing meditation.

    The Buddha was satisfied and was very pleased with the explanation and conduct of Dhammarama and he said, "My son, Dhammarama, you have done very well. A Bhikkhu who loves and respects me should act like you. Those who made offerings of flowers, scents and incense to me are not really paying me homage. Only those who practice the Dhamma are the ones who truly pay homage to me."

    Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

    Verse 364: The Bhikkhu who abides in the Dhamma, who delights in the Dhamma, who meditates on the Dhamma, and is ever mindful of the Dhamma, does not fall away from the Dhamma of the virtuous.

    At the end of the discourse Thera Dhammarama attained arahatship.

    In the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, the Buddha also said the following:
    And the Blessed One spoke to the Venerable Ananda, saying: "Ananda, the twin sala trees are in full bloom, though it is not the season of flowering. And the blossoms rain upon the body of the Tathagata and drop and scatter and are strewn upon it in worship of the Tathagata. And celestial coral flowers and heavenly sandalwood powder from the sky rain down upon the body of the Tathagata, and drop and scatter and are strewn upon it in worship of the Tathagata. And the sound of heavenly voices and heavenly instruments makes music in the air out of reverence for the Tathagata.

    "Yet it is not thus, Ananda, that the Tathagata is respected, venerated, esteemed, worshipped, and honored in the highest degree. But, Ananda, whatever Bhikkhu or Bhikkhuni, layman or laywoman, abides by the Dhamma, lives uprightly in the Dhamma, walks in the way of the Dhamma, it is by such a one that the Tathagata is respected, venerated, esteemed, worshipped, and honored in the highest degree. Therefore, Ananda, thus should you train yourselves: 'We shall abide by the Dhamma, live uprightly in the Dhamma, walk in the way of the Dhamma.'"
    So in accordance with the above teachings, Theravadan teachers would advice to do both types of puja - material offerings and practice offerings, eg. Bhikkhu Khantipalo says the following:
    There is no doubt that the practice of giving (dana), moral conduct (sila), meditation (samadhi) and wisdom (pañña) are the best way of honoring the Buddha — they are called the puja of practice (patipatti-puja), but offerings and chanting are found useful by many people as it stimulates practice. It is only when the puja with material offerings supplants patipatti-puja that there is the danger that peoples' "Buddhism" becomes mere ceremonials.
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited August 2013
    Most people cannot see all of the bodies of Buddha. The three bodies or trikaya is a Mahayana thing. We see the man or nirmanakaya. A Bodhisattva sees the enjoyment body which I assume is more profound than taking a shower. And finally there is the 'ground' of all phenomena, the dharmakaya. The dharmakaya radiates to all beings in the form of openness, clarity, and sensitivity. Emptiness and dependent origination are fused and there could not even be bodies or minds without the dharmakaya I am unclear how and when we perceive dharmakaya. Emptiness isn't just some blob of zoning out. It is changing but has a fine structure that we can sense. It also has a heart or, as I said, is with us all the time in openness, clarity, and sensitivity.
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    I rejoice
    @Citta -- That sounds about right to me.
  • I love the Buddha. You might say he is my idol. However if one of his road crew or groupies I might form a different understanding . . .

    :p

    . . . let's just say our relationship is platonic . . . and mostly cerebral . . . :rocker:
    zsc
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