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Lotus Sutra

edited January 2008 in Advanced Ideas
Does everyone here listened Lotus Sutra?? Now I am studying.... I heard people Lotus Sutra is ultimate of all sutras....
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Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited December 2005
    Check out these two sites for further information. I don't know a great deal about it, but I do know that some controversy surrounds the SGI Movement. However, knowing nothing about it, I leave it to you - and to others - to examine the situation further.
    :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nichiren_Buddhism

    http://www.sgi.org/english/Buddhism/lotussutra.htm
  • edited December 2005
    The ultimate sutra has no words and you write it every day.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited December 2005
    Oh, Oui, bien dit, ZenMonk! :)
  • edited December 2005
    De rien, Je vous en prie.
  • edited December 2005
    nucifera said:
    Does everyone here listened Lotus Sutra?? Now I am studying.... I heard people Lotus Sutra is ultimate of all sutras....
    Hello, Nucifera!

    Welcome to the site. My name is Adiana and I am a Nichiren Buddhist. I read and study the Lotus Sutra as well as the works of Nichiren Daishonin, who was a thirteenth century Japanese monk. I am also an SGI member as well. The so-called controversy surrounding the SGI is referring to the rift between the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and the SGI. You can go to this website to read more about it: http://www.gakkaionline.net. That should give you the background regarding the problems between the two organizations.

    Adiana:wavey: :usflag:
  • edited December 2005
    Adiana said:
    Hello, Nucifera!

    The so-called controversy surrounding the SGI is referring to the rift between the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and the SGI. You can go to this website to read more about it: http://www.gakkaionline.net. That should give you the background regarding the problems between the two organizations.

    Adiana:wavey: :usflag:

    Actually the controversy extends to a lot more than that, including the fact that no Buddhist tradition accepts Nichiren and in particular SGI as being Buddhist. Whilst SGI followers may not like that, that's the way it is. Information about SGI, both pro and anti, can be found on most cult information sites.
  • edited December 2005
    zenmonk_genryu said:
    Actually the controversy extends to a lot more than that, including the fact that no Buddhist tradition accepts Nichiren and in particular SGI as being Buddhist. Whilst SGI followers may not like that, that's the way it is. Information about SGI, both pro and anti, can be found on most cult information sites.
    Yes, I am aware of that; I forgot to mention it---my fault. The sites listed other than the one I posted are accurate as well. As for any other Buddhist tradition not accepting Nichiren and in particular SGI as being Buddhist, well that is their problem and not mine. Other Buddhist beliefs may not accept my beliefs but I will always respect and accept theirs. :) I seek world peace. I also seek religious tolerance for all. One question: Why does it have to be "Whilst SGI followers may or may not like that, that's the way it is?" :scratch: Who says it has to be that way? Why can't we all be accepting of each other's beliefs and let it go at that? Or am I just being too naive?

    Adiana:usflag:
  • edited December 2005
    Perhaps naieve is not the best choice. In the end of course, each person has to decide what is or is not skilful practice for themselves, and that I think we can all agree on.
  • edited December 2005
    I can agree with that. Happy Holidays to you.

    Adiana:type: :) :usflag:
  • edited December 2005
    And to you Adiana.
  • edited January 2006
    Well, it seems incorrect to me to say that no buddhist tradition accepts Nichiren as being buddhist. Here in Japan everyone knows that Nichiren was a buddhist. In the writings of D.T. Suzuki, Nichiren buddhism is mentioned at times, and not always unapprovingly. I am not a follower of Nichiren buddhism nor of the Lotus Sutra, but Nichiren clearly founded a school of buddhism. It does seem to me, however, that SGI is a distortion of Nichiren buddhism.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited January 2006
    Hello Void... welcome to our forum....:)
  • edited January 2006
    Thank you for the welcome.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited January 2006
    I think rather than the word 'accepted' the more appropriate terms might be 'validated' or 'recognised'.... That it exists is one thing. That it practises is also a known. But that it's methods, teachings and practises are questioned by other established lineages is also very true.
  • edited January 2006
    VoidWhereProhibited said:
    Well, it seems incorrect to me to say that no buddhist tradition accepts Nichiren as being buddhist. Here in Japan everyone knows that Nichiren was a buddhist. In the writings of D.T. Suzuki, Nichiren buddhism is mentioned at times, and not always unapprovingly. I am not a follower of Nichiren buddhism nor of the Lotus Sutra, but Nichiren clearly founded a school of buddhism. It does seem to me, however, that SGI is a distortion of Nichiren buddhism.
    First of all, I would like to say welcome to the site. What I like about this site is that any questions one may have, you can usually get an answer for in a non-condescending manner. All are accepted and welcome here. I am also a Wiccan. Yes, I know that more than a few eyebrows tend to raise when I say that! LOL! I am also a Nichiren Buddhist and a member of the SGI. I practice both beliefs because they work for me and I feel that I have the right to practice them. It also does not matter to me whether or not other Buddhists "accept" Nichiren Buddhism or the SGI. Some people have posted that they think that the SGI is a form of "cult." I have never felt that way and I have always felt welcome in any SGI center I have gone to. People will think what they want to think about Nichiren Buddhism and the SGI no matter what I or any other member of the SGI may say about it which is why I refuse to get into any arguments about it anymore. I have argued about my beliefs in the past but quickly came to the conclusion that it was futile to do so. I also will continue to accept other people's beliefs whether or not they choose to accept mine. I have always maintained that all people have the right to practice their own belief system whatever that may be. I believe in religious acceptance, as well as tolerance, for everyone.

    Adiana:usflag: :wavey:
  • edited January 2006
    Well said, Adiana.
  • edited January 2006
    Good points. I am simply dissagreeing with ZenMonk`s statement
    no Buddhist tradition accepts Nichiren
    because if taken literally it implies that all of the sects which consider the monk Nichiren to have been their "founder" are in fact not Buddhist.

    From what I understand, only the SGI and Nichiren Sho-shu (which means the "true sect" of Nichiren) consider Nichiren to be "equal" to Shakyamuni Buddha. The other sects stemming from Nichiren are more "mainstream Buddhist" from what I have read. In other words they still practice means which comprise elements common to Japanese Mahayana in general rather than merly chanting the "mantra-title" of the Lotus Sutra. Anyway, in Japan Nichiren himself is listed among the Daishi, which are those who have been publically proclaimed geat national teachers of the Dharma in Japan.

    There`s no time to post much now, but I hope to return another day and discuss matters of the Lotus Sutra. I recently completed a complete reading of it in English and found it to be among the least attractive Buddhst texts I have ever read. Perhaps now I understand why I once heard a Zen teacher in Los Angeles describe reading the Lotus Sutra as a "disturbing experience".
  • edited January 2006
    VoidWhereProhibited said:
    Good points. I am simply dissagreeing with ZenMonk`s statement because if taken literally it implies that all of the sects which consider the monk Nichiren to have been their "founder" are in fact not Buddhist.
    .

    That's correct. And anyone who has read Nichiren's writings would understand why.
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited January 2006
    zenmonk_genryu said:
    That's correct. And anyone who has read Nichiren's writings would understand why.
    This puzzles me in the same way that I fail to understand why Latter Day Saints are not considered to be Christians. If they want to call themselves Christian, Buddhist or any other 'spiritual' category, where's the problem? The labels are only applied to empty vessels which exist solely in the imagination anyway.

    As the Zen Master, Tommy Cooper, used to say: "Goose. Bottle. Bottle. Goose. Ho Ho."
  • edited January 2006
    Because labels do actually serve a purpose. Language serves a purpose. If we just make up a meaning for words that has little to do with their actual meaning, then there is no communication and words are used to communicate. The term Buddhist does actually mean something and to pretend that we can just throw out that meaning because we wish to apply it to something that is in no sense Buddhist is at best naive. I can call myself whatever I like but if I call myself a doctor or a policeman when I'm not, I can cause some serious trouble, both for myself and others. Labels are certainly provisional and empty but emptiness in the Buddhist sense doesn't mean without meaning or purpose. After all if you really do want a doctor, how would you find one if everyone who wished to went around calling themselves a doctor with no entitlement to the claim? Would you be happy for someone who'd never been to medical school to operate on you because "labels are only applied to empty vessels which exist solely in the imagination anyway"? I doubt it and that is certainly not what Buddhism teaches. Buddhism does not deny the relative, nor claim that it is non existent. Whilst Buddhism does teach that words cannot define truth, it also doesn't teach that we should check out our brain at the door and forget common sense.

    Aum Shinrikyo also called themselves Buddhist, that doesn't mean that they were. Neither does it mean that teaching that followers of existing Buddhist traditions should be murdered, that only Nichiren teaches the true way, that Nichiren surpasses the Buddha and that those who don't follow Nichiren unquestioningly will go to hell, mean that Nichiren is Buddhist, simply because he called himself that. And yes, those are all things that Nichiren repeated loudly and often. They're no secret but are often glossed over or explained away to those who join any of the Nichiren cults. He was a disturbed individual who twisted the Dharma to suit his own ego, and what resulted is a complete perversion of Buddhism. This is why no Buddhist tradition accepts Nichiren, or the sect that he founded as being Buddhist, just as no tradition accepts Falun Gong, Aum Shinrikyo or Zen master Rama's traditions as being Buddhist.
  • edited January 2006
    What I think the SGI is implying is that the Buddha nature is in each and every one of us and that we all can achieve enlightenment. There are some sects of Buddhism, Nichiren Shoshu among them, that believe enlightenment is only for the priesthood and not for the lay believers. That is their business if they choose to think that. I do not do so, however. To each their own.

    Adiana:usflag:
  • edited January 2006
    And neither did the Buddha teach that only those who are ordained can attain enlightenment, and there are several laymen and women in the Suttas who awakened.
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited January 2006
    zenmonk_genryu said:
    And neither did the Buddha teach that only those who are ordained can attain enlightenment, and there are several laymen and women in the Suttas who awakened.


    And JC made a most mysterious statement about having followers whom the disciples didn't know.
  • edited January 2006
    Adiana said:
    What I think the SGI is implying is that the Buddha nature is in each and every one of us and that we all can achieve enlightenment. There are some sects of Buddhism, Nichiren Shoshu among them, that believe enlightenment is only for the priesthood and not for the lay believers. That is their business if they choose to think that. I do not do so, however. To each their own.

    Adiana:usflag:
    Although I am probably not qualified to give a knowladgable enough answer, I am going to try anyway. :lol:" alt=":lol:" height="20" /> Another way you might want to look at that would be that some christians are not to fond of catholics, and not all catholics practice everything the church dishes out to them. In fact I bet some of them disagree with great parts of it. I hope that helps everyone come to a understanding. :smilec:

    Keith

    Edit: I wasnt respodning to you directly Adiana, just putting that there so everyone can compare the two.
  • edited January 2006
    keithg said:
    Although I am probably not qualified to give a knowladgable enough answer, I am going to try anyway. :lol:" alt=":lol:" height="20" /> Another way you might want to look at that would be that some christians are not to fond of catholics, and not all catholics practice everything the church dishes out to them. In fact I bet some of them disagree with great parts of it. I hope that helps everyone come to a understanding. :smilec:

    Keith

    Edit: I wasnt respodning to you directly Adiana, just putting that there so everyone can compare the two.
    That's okay. :D No problem.

    Adiana:wavey:
  • edited January 2006
    When I first learned of Nichiren and some of his teachings and how divisive he was I tended to think about him and his teachings in the same way that Genryu does. In fact, it does seem to me reasonable to think that he was acting from ego and was unenlightened. I was puzzled, however, when I found that D. T. Suzuki mentioned Nichiren buddhism in his discussion of the chief honoured image generally enshrined by each sect of Japanese Buddhism. Suzuki tells that for both Zen and Nichren sects, it`s Shakyamuni.

    Here Suzuki appears to endorese the idea that Nichren sects are to numbered among Buddhists. My question now would be: does mean scholar Suzuki was not a Buddhist?
  • edited January 2006
    Not at all. It simply means that D.T Suzuki wrote about Sakyamuni's image as it was used by both Nichiren followers and by Buddhists. It does not imply for example that D T Suzuki endorsed Nichiren's views. If he did, after all, he'd be calling for the beheading of Zen, Tendai, Shingon and Pure Land priests and nuns, which would be a strange thing to do since Suzuki himself was an ardent Pure Land Buddhist, especially in his later years. As one Buddhist writer put it, "Nichiren is to Buddhism what Mormonism is to Christianity".
  • edited February 2006
    Adiana said:
    Some people have posted that they think that the SGI is a form of "cult." I have never felt that way and I have always felt welcome in any SGI center I have gone to.

    I believe in religious acceptance, as well as tolerance, for everyone.

    Adiana:usflag: :wavey:
    Yes, I, too, have been greeted with warm welcomes at SGI as well. And I would not be eager to criticize an organization that works for world peace. We need as much help as we can get.

    Religious tolerance may be a vital topic nowadays. Seems we need to get there, sooner, rather than later.

    Years ago, as a result of my strong interest in tolerance I directed the fund raising film for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. It seems we need more such institutions that promote tolerance and healing among religions and peoples and nations.

    Perhaps we need a Memorial where all religions can come together to discuss tolerance and peace and ways to move this planet to the next level. Maybe the Dalai Lama could host such a site; and, in doing so, bring attention to the need to assist Tibet.
  • edited February 2006
    Tolerance, tolerance.

    Yes.

    And that is where all are "right" here. You see, as Genryu pointed out, it was Nichiren himself who was exremely intolerant. That in itself makes him somewhat unique among the Daishi of Japanese Buddhism. Japanese culture emphasizes the idea of "harmony" or wa. Nichiren`s diatribes against all other forms of Buddhism seem to offend much against this fundamental aspect of life in Japan.

    But for the very same reason: wa, no on one here would ever dream of accusing Nichiren Buddhists as being "outside" the Dharma, whatever that might mean. So please let us, including those of us who like myself do not follow its ways, be tolerant of Nichiren Buddhism. For it is indeed a form of Buddhism. I hope to post later a full explanation in light of the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, which I have bothered to read all the way through.
  • edited February 2006
    zenmonk_genryu said:
    Not at all. It simply means that D.T Suzuki wrote about Sakyamuni's image as it was used by both Nichiren followers and by Buddhists. It does not imply for example that D T Suzuki endorsed Nichiren's views. If he did, after all, he'd be calling for the beheading of Zen, Tendai, Shingon and Pure Land priests and nuns, which would be a strange thing to do since Suzuki himself was an ardent Pure Land Buddhist, especially in his later years. As one Buddhist writer put it, "Nichiren is to Buddhism what Mormonism is to Christianity".
    ZM

    What do you think of DT Suzuki?

    I'm reading some of his works at the moment.

    -bf
  • edited February 2006
    THOUGHTS ON THINGS I READ IN THE LOTUS SUTRA

    (January 2008 edit: see my partial retraction in posts #51, #52, and #55 of this thread.)

    In some nations translations of many Buddhist Sutras were made early on in the transmission of the Dharma. But apparently not in Western Buddhism: there still aren’t many translations of complete Sutras readily available in English. Maybe that’s because Zen and Vajrayana, two of the more popular forms of Buddhism in the West, don’t really put the major emphasis on Sutras.

    As a Californian residing in Japan I take an interest in the history of Buddhism in this country. The Lotus Sutra has been of great historical and religious significance to Japan, and not just for the Nichiren sects. Even the Zen sects chant a portion of the Lotus Sutra in praise of Avalokiteshvara, and the first patriarch of Japanese Vajrayana, Kobo Daishi (Kukai), gave at least one public lecture on the Lotus Sutra near the end of his sojourn. The founders of the Japanese sects of Zen and Pure Land, and Nichiren himself, were all originally trained as monks of the Tendai sect, which places the Lotus Sutra at the center. And today the person who is probably the most famous public figure in Japanese Buddhism is a woman writer turned Tendai nun. So I thought I ought to read the Lotus Sutra.

    But what did I find?

    Over and over again the Lotus Sutra proclaims itself the highest teaching of the Buddha. But as I read through it I kept waiting to find this great teaching. To me it just seemed like a lot of colorful imagery. Lots of miraculous happenings, but in the whole Sutra it barely touches on anything that I might recognize as a useful teaching, except that through its imagery and parables it does seem to illustrate important Mahayana concepts such as skillful means, the boddhisattva ideal, and the possibility of universal salvation. On the other hand there were several things that bothered me:

    1. It speaks of the supposedly great merit of cutting off your own arm or big toe and burning it up as an offering to the Buddha.
    2. It speaks of Buddha-lands that have as one of their “pure” features the absence of any women.
    3. It speaks of advanced Buddhist practitioners who are women and who therefore will be reborn as men in order to reach Buddhahood.
    4. It says that anyone who scoffs at the Lotus Sutra or its followers will go to Hell (albeit temporarily) and details the violent calamities that will befall opponents of either the Lotus Sutra or its preachers.
    5. It goes into detail about the rewards, including bodily beauty, that will come to the preachers of the Sutra.
    6. It says that those who believe/chant just one syllable of the Lotus Sutra will gain merit at least equal to or even more than that of venerating all the many thousands of Buddhas.
    7. It says that the Sutra itself will be regarded as a Buddha by those who follow it.


    I haven’t heard that any Mahayana sect denies the Lotus Sutra. And after reading the Lotus Sutra it seems apparent to me that the teachings of Nichiren are not really inconsistent with the teachings of the Lotus Sutra: chant just one syllable of it—in his case just the title of it, and all sorts of benefits, and Buddhahood besides, will eventually come to you. So if we do not deny that the Lotus Sutra is Buddhist, why should we deny that Nichiren was a Buddhist?

    Some Nichiren sects do not accept the most extreme of Nichiren’s letters as authentic Nichiren teaching. If that’s right, then Nichiren himself may never really have equated himself with Shakyamuni and may never have called for the murder of other Buddhist teachers. On the other hand Nichiren seems to have proclaimed-- consistently with the Lotus teaching-- that karmic calamities would befall its opponents. His preaching the ineffectiveness of other practices can be attributed to the view common to many Japanese Buddhists such as the Pure Land that we are in the decadent period of Shakyamuni’s teaching when practices have lost much or all of their former effectiveness. Nichiren therefore must have believed that he was acting compassionately and was saving people from wasting their energies on practices that no longer worked.

    Reading the Lotus Sutra was difficult for me.

    Nichiren is an extreme form of Lotus Sutra belief and practice. And among Nichiren Buddhists, the Sho Shu are the most extreme, and among them the SGI was/is still the most extreme (so much so that they have now been “excommunicated”). But no matter how distasteful all this is to me personally, I’m not going to say that they aren’t “Buddhist”.

    The Dalai Lama has said that the defining characteristic of who is a Buddhist is that one takes refuge in the Three Jewels. That sounds fair enough to me, but the acceptance of the Four Noble Truths might be an alternative definition that could work. Maybe SGI members no longer take refuge-- I’m not sure about that-- but Nichiren Shu and Nichiren Sho Shu take refuge, so apparently they are Buddhists by the Dalai Lama’s definition. I think that if we call each other “not Buddhist” we are moving toward a kind of “stone-throwing” in which, if we are Theravada for example we will feel that “Mahayana” isn’t truly Buddhist, or if we are Chan/Zen, we could say that Vajrayana isn’t authentically Buddhist. I would think that by a dictionary definition, all of the schools/sects are “Buddhist”—but we don’t all have to accept the effectiveness of each of these seemingly contradictory teachings.
  • edited March 2006
    I`ve been waiting for someone to post some wonderfully wise way for me to understand the things I posted above:
    So I thought I ought to read the Lotus Sutra.

    But what did I find?

    Over and over again the Lotus Sutra proclaims itself the highest teaching of the Buddha. But as I read through it I kept waiting to find this great teaching. To me it just seemed like a lot of colorful imagery. Lots of miraculous happenings, but in the whole Sutra it barely touches on anything that I might recognize as a useful teaching, except that through its imagery and parables it does seem to illustrate important Mahayana concepts such as skillful means, the boddhisattva ideal, and the possibility of universal salvation. On the other hand there were several things that bothered me:

    1. It speaks of the supposedly great merit of cutting off your own arm or big toe and burning it up as an offering to the Buddha.
    2. It speaks of Buddha-lands that have as one of their “pure” features the absence of any women.
    3. It speaks of advanced Buddhist practitioners who are women and who therefore will be reborn as men in order to reach Buddhahood.
    4. It says that anyone who scoffs at the Lotus Sutra or its followers will go to Hell (albeit temporarily) and details the violent calamities that will befall opponents of either the Lotus Sutra or its preachers.
    5. It goes into detail about the rewards, including bodily beauty, that will come to the preachers of the Sutra.
    6. It says that those who believe/chant just one syllable of the Lotus Sutra will gain merit at least equal to or even more than that of venerating all the many thousands of Buddhas.
    7. It says that the Sutra itself will be regarded as a Buddha by those who follow it.

    I`m still waiting....
  • edited March 2006
    Me, too.

    Can't somebody, who knows a little about this, comment? I'm very interested in hearing what people think of this.

    Void, has anyone ever told you that your writing is very pleasant to read? I think if you wrote a thousand pages I'd be able to read it all in one sitting and then look up and wonder where the time had gone.

    Brigid
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited March 2006
    The Buddha encouraged everyone to test and examine everything themselves before accepting or rejecting.
    So for Lotus Sutra...read Kalama Sutra.

    Sorted.

    :)
  • edited March 2006
    buddhafoot said:
    ZM

    What do you think of DT Suzuki?

    I'm reading some of his works at the moment.

    -bf

    I think we owe DT Suzuki an immense debt. At the same time I'd say he's now dated and inaccurate - at least when it comes to Zen practice. That being said though, he's also very interesting at times.
  • edited March 2006
    VoidWhereProhibited said:
    I`ve been waiting for someone to post some wonderfully wise way for me to understand the things I posted above:

    I`m still waiting....
    I would have to agree.

    I was reading the Diamond Sutra (and even posted a bit of it here on a thread) and have to say that I had a very difficult time with it.

    It was explaining a realm of Ultimate Happiness - and I have to say, it sounded very... desireous (is that a word Pal?)

    It seems to me that there are various religions or beliefs that point to some ultimate goal that is chocked full of things we desire in "this" world. A land of milk and honey. Streets paved with gold. Seventy Two virgins to do our every desire, etc.

    Like having seventy virgins all standing around going, "What are you thinking about?" "I just want to be held" "Does this make my butt look big?" "Oh no you di'in't!" "When are WE going to get a house like the Joneses?" is bliss?

    I think there are very human ideas of what an afterlife or reward is like that truly has nothing to do with going to Heaven, becoming awakened, meeting Allah, etc. - that truly have nothing to do with what achieving the ultimate goal of said religion/belief is all about.

    -bf
  • edited March 2006
    Thanks for some pointers. But not sure how to test some of these things.

    Kalama Sutra? Don`t know it.

    I am, in fact, a "New Buddhist". I`ve studied about Buddhism over the years, but I haven`t actually been a Buddhist for very long. I don`t have any "realization" at all, my knowlege is mostly just in the head. I haven`t made up my mind about many controversial points, or even what school to follow. I was a Catholic Christian most of my life, then lost my faith, as they say. My knowledge of Christian belief and practice is more than my knowledge of the Dharma. And now I am a bit cautious about identifying with any particular religion. Please forgive me if I sound a wrong note or seem argumentative or challenging at times. But I would really like to be able to freely speak my doubts here and not offend any body.

    For one thing, in my reading I have discovered that in Vajrayana of the Himalayan/Mongolian variety there is something know as Tantric Vows. I have also read how these vows may be broken, referred to as a "root downfall" (reminds me of a "mortal sin" in Catholicism.) I have read that it is a Tantric Root Downfall to deny any teaching of the Buddha as actually having been given by him.

    Anyway, I have lived in Japan just for about a year and a half, but long enough to see how Buddhism can be thoroughly "corrupt" but also how it can thoroughly permeate a culture even in these modern days.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited March 2006
    VoidWhereProhibited said:
    Thanks for some pointers. But not sure how to test some of these things.

    Kalama Sutra? Don`t know it.

    Look at Buddhafoot"s signature... the bit that begins,
    "Come Kalamas....."
  • edited March 2006
    Well yes, I had read that. Seems to be a part of it at least.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited March 2006
  • edited March 2006
    nucifera said:
    Does everyone here listened Lotus Sutra?? Now I am studying.... I heard people Lotus Sutra is ultimate of all sutras....

    It is a very great sutra for sure and generations of Mahayana Buddhists have found deep inspiration within it.
  • edited March 2006
    VoidWhereProhibited said:
    Thanks for some pointers. But not sure how to test some of these things.

    Kalama Sutra? Don`t know it.

    I am, in fact, a "New Buddhist". I`ve studied about Buddhism over the years, but I haven`t actually been a Buddhist for very long. I don`t have any "realization" at all, my knowlege is mostly just in the head. I haven`t made up my mind about many controversial points, or even what school to follow. I was a Catholic Christian most of my life, then lost my faith, as they say. My knowledge of Christian belief and practice is more than my knowledge of the Dharma. And now I am a bit cautious about identifying with any particular religion. Please forgive me if I sound a wrong note or seem argumentative or challenging at times. But I would really like to be able to freely speak my doubts here and not offend any body.

    For one thing, in my reading I have discovered that in Vajrayana of the Himalayan/Mongolian variety there is something know as Tantric Vows. I have also read how these vows may be broken, referred to as a "root downfall" (reminds me of a "mortal sin" in Catholicism.) I have read that it is a Tantric Root Downfall to deny any teaching of the Buddha as actually having been given by him.

    Anyway, I have lived in Japan just for about a year and a half, but long enough to see how Buddhism can be thoroughly "corrupt" but also how it can thoroughly permeate a culture even in these modern days.
    Here are a few of my thoughts regarding your post.
    I think thorough examination of any religion is essential. You don't have to be a Buddhist to study Buddhism.
    But I would like to suggest one caution; it's important that we examine our own filters through which we study these things and our motivations for doing so. If we approach a subject, and it doesn't matter what that subject is, with the intent of finding flaws, we will undoubtedly find them, whether they truly exist or not.

    A good example of this is your interpretation of Tantric teaching. Tantra is extremely complex and takes years of study under a master before one can understand even its essence. Beware of judging too hastily things you may not have enough understanding of to do so. Tantra cannot be put into a Catholic Christian context and to do so does it great injustice.

    I want to make sure you understand that I am not saying that these teachings should not be scrutinized. Not only should they be, they must be. That is why Fede and others pointed you towards the Kalama Sutra. It's essential to read and understand this teaching of the Buddha before going any further in your studies. When you do, you'll understand why I say this.

    At the same time, however, it's important not to jump to conclusions about Buddhism that may be coloured by previous religious understanding and training. When you have a question or concern about something you have read, write it down and bring it to those who study and practice Buddhism. Here, for example, as you have done. Or to other sources, the more the better. You will get many interpretations and new understandings.

    But that won't give you the true understanding you're looking for. The only thing that can give you that is yourself and only through study and practice of the Dharma itself. This is what Buddhism is based on; personal experiential knowledge. Being told what Buddhism is is not Buddhism. Studying and practicing the Dharma with pure motivation is. I can't stress this enough. Particularly because of your last statement.
    Anyway, I have lived in Japan just for about a year and a half, but long enough to see how Buddhism can be thoroughly "corrupt" but also how it can thoroughly permeate a culture even in these modern days.
    Buddhism, you will learn, cannot be corrupt. It can, and is, however, often corrupted. But this point can't be understood with only a cursory understanding of the Dharma. When you look for Buddhism in others, you will only find what Buddhism is according to them and through your own filters, like the game "Broken Telephone". But when you start looking for Buddhism in yourself, you'll be getting closer. I can't stress enough how important it is to put the teachings of Buddhism into practice in your own life. You have to experience it to understand it properly. Otherwise it can be very confusing. Practice doesn't just make perfect; it makes clear.

    Finally, inquisitive thought based upon a true motivation to learn is never offensive, it's a joy, wouldn't you say?

    Love,
    Brigid
  • edited March 2006
    Heavy shit.

    well done Brigid!:bowdown:

    I find a lot af what is written here is like a B52, way over my head-and I thought I had an idea about the whole Buddha-thingy, whatsa-ma-callit.

    Nowadays, I spend a great deal of time trying to practise what I preach-and just get on with it.

    Just as a side note, I'm working on something so secret, not even I know anything about it.(that's most of what I do now).:eek2:

    regards.
    Xrayman
  • edited March 2006
    Just as a side note, I'm working on something so secret, not even I know anything about it.(that's most of what I do now).
    LOL!!
  • edited March 2006
    Thank you, Brigid.

    I have now read the Kalama Sutra, thanks to Buddhafoot`s new thread. So thank you to Buddhafoot as well.

    I`m not a Christian anymore and haven`t been for the past several years. I am not new to the study of Buddhism. I am not exactly new to practice, either, however my practice is still very feeble. I am new to the label of "Buddhist", however.

    I just finished reading (spelling?) Thich Nat Han`s Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brotherslast week. It was very good and I thought it might help me sort out some of my feelings on being Buddhist coming out of a Catholic background. It spoke a lot about the Buddhist concept of faith in contrast with the Christian notion of it. He seemed strongly to advocate the virtue of faith, but he pointed out that for a Buddhist, faith is based on experience, perhaps along the line of the Kalama Sutra.

    Perhaps I can see your point, Brigid, about Buddhism and corruption. But it also seems to me that an ardent follower of any teaching or religion might claim the same thing: that once it is corrupted it is no longer itself.

    On testing things: that is one point I find difficult about Esoteric Buddhism (as Tantric Buddhism is known here: Mikkyo literally "secret")-- if the teachings are secret until you are initiated into the practice, how can you "try them out" before you are, perhaps, in over your head?
  • edited March 2006
    On testing things: that is one point I find difficult about Esoteric Buddhism (as Tantric Buddhism is known here: Mikkyo literally "secret")-- if the teachings are secret until you are initiated into the practice, how can you "try them out" before you are, perhaps, in over your head?
    Good question, VWP.

    The simple answer is that the study and practice of Buddhism is done in stages. That is also how the Buddha himself taught. Some of it we can do ourselves but as we go deeper the need for a qualified teacher becomes important. When it comes to Tantric practice it's essential.

    So, for me, for example, it will be years before I'm able to practice Tantra because I haven't even got a teacher yet. I'm still in the first stages. Because these stages take years of study and practice, there is plenty of time to back out. There is also plenty of opportunity to say "This is not for me" at any stage, including the later, or deeper stages.

    But I can't jump into Tantric practice at this stage of my understanding and to do so would be folly because I simply don't have the training to do so. Jumping into Tantric practice right now without a master to initiate, train and guide me would be like knowing how to drive a car and then getting into the cockpit of a plane and attempting to fly it. Potentially disasterous.

    And don't forget that there are many different Buddhist traditions and practices because there are many different people with different personalities and persuasions. You don't have to choose a school or tradition immediately. You could investigate Zen, for example, to see if that is better suited to your personality. Or other traditions as well. It's really a voyage of discovery. But we have to be patient and not jump ahead if we are not prepared.
    Perhaps I can see your point, Brigid, about Buddhism and corruption. But it also seems to me that an ardent follower of any teaching or religion might claim the same thing: that once it is corrupted it is no longer itself.
    Yes, this is true. So if you want to find out for yourself if there is corruption in the Dharma you must study what the Buddha taught with that inquisitive and skeptical mind of yours. You won't get a fair view of the Dharma if you look at it through other people or cultures. It's between you and the Buddha, so to speak. The Dharma itself is a teaching. Go to the Dharma itself to judge whether there is corruption in it. Right?

    And don't lose your doubt.
    As Genryu once said, (and I don't know who he was quoting at the time, sorry),

    Small doubt, small enlightenment.
    Large doubt, large enlightenment.

    Regards,
    Brigid
  • edited March 2006
    Ah, Brigid, thank you again for your kind response.

    If you had said "The Dharma cannot be corrupt" rather than "Buddhism...cannot be corrupt" it might have been easier for me to get what you were saying.

    The Dharma cannot be corrupt. I like that.

    As for many different practices, I think that is what I was defending before. I may not like the Lotus Sutra, but I am not against it.
  • edited March 2006
    You're very welcome, VWP.

    Brigid
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited April 2006
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  • edited August 2006
    I have developed a greater respect for the Lotus Sutra. I`ve been reading a very interesting guide-book to Buddhist sutras by a good Japanese scholar from the Pure Land school.
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