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Where is the Buddha?

This is a genuine question, not trolling or being facetious, so please don't jump on me.

The Buddha achieved nirvana, yes? My understanding of nirvana is peace, bliss, no rebirth. Yet does the Buddha not say that he will return? Moreover, if achieving nirvana severs ties to this world, how is that the Buddha can interact with us, if he does at all? That is, if the Buddha is gone, to coin a phrase, is it only superstition that makes people pray to him, and even to other buddhas. Is there any point in invoking them through mantras, e.g. Medicine Buddha mantra?

Maybe I should know the answers, but it escapes me right now. :o

Comments

  • Great, thanks. I was thinking on too physical a plane.
    anataman
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `   South Carolina, USA Veteran
    seeker242 said:

    Bodhidharma answered this like this. :)

    Through endless kalpas" without beginning, whatever you do, wherever you are, that’s your real mind, that’s your real buddha. This mind is the buddha" says the same thing. Beyond this mind you’ll never find another Buddha. To search for enlightenment or nirvana beyond this mind is impossible. The reality of your own self-nature the absence of cause and effect, is what’s meant by mind. Your mind is nirvana. You might think you can find a Buddha or enlightenment somewhere beyond the mind’, but such a place doesn’t exist.

    Trying to find a Buddha or enlightenment is like trying to grab space. Space has
    a name but no form. It’s not something you can pick up or put down. And you certainly can’t grab if. Beyond mind you’ll never see a Buddha. The Buddha is a product of the mind. Why look for a Buddha beyond this mind?

    Buddhas of the past and future only talk about this mind. The mind is the Buddha, and the Buddha is the mind. Beyond the mind there’s no Buddha and beyond the Buddha there’s no mind. If you think there is a Buddha beyond the mind’, where is he? There’s no Buddha beyond the mind, so why envision one? You can’t know your real mind as long as you deceive yourself. As long as you’re enthralled by a lifeless form, you’re not free. If you don’t believe me, deceiving yourself won’t help. It’s not the Buddha’s fault. People, though, are deluded. They’re unaware that their own mind is the Buddha. Otherwise they wouldn’t look for a Buddha outside the mind.
    Sounds like an Upanishad to me: mind=Self=Atman=Brahman=God.

    Plus the idea of divinity (=well-attuned Spirit)!
  • Buddha doesn't come or go. (not literally haha) For the mahayana ideas read up on the trikaya.
  • Who wants to know?
    Bunksanatamanfreja
  • matthewmartinmatthewmartin Amateur Bodhisattva Suburbs of Mt Meru Veteran
    edited February 2014
    Well lets see. You mention mantras, so this is Mahayana. If it were in the context of Therevada it's simpler-- he's gone and the Medicine Buddha is an innovative idea of people (as opposed to a real thing) Back to Mahayana-- If you have faith, then the Buddhas exist but not in a way we understand it. On the otherhand, the Bodhisattva exist in our world, but are advanced enough along the path that they have superhuman powers. The sutras describe the Buddhas in much the same way as the Bodhisattvas though (they both seem to be able to walk, talk and interact with everyone). The ancient Buddhist writers didn't seem to worry about consensus and consistency much.

    The bit about the universal-shared-soul-god-all-in-one has already been covered above.

    Now if you're secular, then so far the best naturalistic description of the 'shared soul' is the collective mind/collective consciousness. In sociology, the collective consciousness is a chalkboard abstraction (i.e. only exists on a chalkboard) and describes the fact that people think similarly and sometimes act like the whole as a mind of it's own. If the whole has a mind, then why not interpret the collective mind as as Buddhas and Bodhisattvas-- the collective minds of everyone trying to cure diseases-- that is the naturalistic Medicine Buddha.

    Next, naturalistically, how could mantras work--they remind you to be like the Medicine Buddha in your own behavior-- I recite the various vows with gongyo. Paying attention to the Medicine Buddha at all helps set the goals for the collective consciousness--to the extent that you actually communicate that to other people. I haven't figured out a naturalistic way to make the mantras do everything they promise.







    JainarayancvaluepersonInvincible_summer
  • Awesome answers, and easy to grasp. It makes sense now.
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited February 2014
    A monk named Yamaka conceived the evil view, "As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Exalted One, an influx-free monk, with the breaking up of his body, is annihilated and perishes, he does not exist after death."

    Then Venerable Sàriputta came there, and after ascertaining the fact, proceeded to dispel Venerable Yamaka's wrong view by getting him to answer a series of questions. Suffice it to mention, in brief, that it served to convince Venerable Yamaka of the fact that whatever is impermanent, suffering and subject to change, is not fit to be looked upon as `this is mine, this am I, and this is my self'.

    "Therefore, friend Yamaka, any kind of form whatsoever, whether past, future or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, all form must be seen as it really is with right wisdom thus: `this is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self'. Any kind of feeling whatsoever ... any kind of perception whatsoever ... any kind of preparations whatsoever ... any kind of consciousness whatsoever, whether past, future or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, all consciousness must be seen as it really is with right wisdom thus: `this is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self'."

    "But then, friend Yamaka, now that for you a Tathàgata is not to be found in truth and fact here in this very life, is it proper for you to declare: `As I understand Dhamma taught by the Exalted One, an influx-free monk is annihilated and destroyed when the body breaks up and does not exist after death'?"

    As if to get a confirmation of Venerable Yamaka's present stance, Venerable Sàriputta continues: "If, friend Yamaka, they were to ask you the question: `Friend Yamaka, as to that monk, the influx-free arahant, what happens to him with the breaking up of the body after death?' Being asked thus, what would you answer?"

    "If they were to ask me that question, friend Sàriputta, I would answer in this way: Friends, form is impermanent, what is impermanent is suffering, what is suffering has ceased and passed away. Feeling ... perception ... preparations ... consciousness is impermanent, what is impermanent is suffering, what is suffering has ceased and passed away. Thus questioned, I would answer in such a way."

    "So too, friend Yamaka, the uninstructed worldling, who has no regard for the noble ones, and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, who has no regard for good men and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, regards form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form. He regards feeling as self ... perception as self ... preparations as self ... consciousness as self ...

    "He becomes committed to form, grasps it and takes a stand upon it as `my self'. He becomes committed to feeling ... to perception ... to preparations ... to consciousness, grasps it and takes a stand upon it as `my self'. These five aggregates of grasping, to which he becomes committed, and which he grasps, lead to his harm and suffering for a long time."

    What Venerable Sàriputta wanted to prove, was the fact that everyone of the five aggregates is a murderer, though the worldlings, ignorant of the true state of affairs, pride themselves on each of them, saying `this is mine, this am I and this is my self'. As the grand finale of this instructive discourse comes the following wonderful declaration by Venerable Yamaka.

    "Such things do happen, friend Sàriputta, to those venerable ones who have sympathetic and benevolent fellow monks in the holy life, like you, to admonish and instruct, so much so that, on hearing this Dhamma sermon of the Venerable Sàriputta, my mind is liberated from the influxes by non-grasping."

    This might sound extremely strange in this age of scepticism regarding such intrinsic qualities of the Dhamma like sandiññhika, "visible here and now", akàlika, "timeless", and ehipassika, "inviting to come and see". But all the same we have to grant the fact that this discourse, which begins with a Venerable Yamaka who is bigoted with such a virulent evil view, which even his fellow monks found it difficult to dispel, concludes, as we saw, with this grand finale of a Venerable Yamaka joyfully declaring his attainment of arahant-hood.

    Generally, such discourses instil fear into the minds of worldlings, so much so that even during the Buddha's time there were those recorded instances of misconstruing and misinterpretation. It is in this light that we have to appreciate the Buddha's prediction that in the future there will be monks who would not like to listen or lend ear to those deep and profound discourses of the Buddha, pertaining to the supramundane and dealing with the void.

    Nibbana Sermon 9
    Bh Nyanananda

    In short, "you" don't really exist. So how can that which doesn't truly exist perish. The Buddha woke up to this truth and became the Awakened One. The rest of us are still asleep.
    Diamond Sutra

    Chapter 25.

    "Subhuti, do not say that the Buddha has the idea, 'I will lead all sentient beings to Nirvana.' Do not think that way, Subhuti. Why? In truth there is not one single being for the Buddha to lead to Enlightenment. If the Buddha were to think there was, he would be caught in the idea of a self, a person, a living being, or a universal self. Subhuti, what the Buddha calls a self essentially has no self in the way that ordinary persons think there is a self. Subhuti, the Buddha does not regard anyone as an ordinary person. That is why he can speak of them as ordinary persons."
    JeffreylobstercvalueJainarayan
  • zsczsc Explorer
    edited February 2014
    According to the Trikaya teaching, accomplished Buddhas and Boddhisattvas (saying it in conventional terms) have three bodies: the Nirmanakaya (the "historical" or "earth" body, the Samboghakaya (the bliss body, AKA who Buddhists are conventionally engaging with during various practices), and the Dharmakaya (the unlimited body, hard to describe, but I think the line I read a while ago that goes "the embodiment of perfect wisdom and compassion that permeates all things" is a decent description).

    So where is He? The same as all the Buddhas, which are as numerous as the grains of sand in the Ganges -- everywhere, in a "there is no divide between samsara and nirvana" kind of way.
  • Is there any point in invoking them through mantras, e.g. Medicine Buddha mantra?
    Yes.

    Most of us are the results of our thinking. Our thinking is a result of our circumstances. Change the thoughts that occupy our thinking and . . . have you guessed yet?
    . . . our thinking changes.

    This process is independent of belief, blessing, resonance with spooky Buddha realms. Though of course those things for those empowered or enabled to believe, add mountains of faith to our molehills.

    The efficacy of the placebo effect - aprox 30% of modern medicines effect is placebo - excellent . . . Then we have programming the subconscious with good vibes. We have sound and breath healing. We have trance and visualisation. No such thing as a Buddha? Think again.

    As I said to the Buddha only this morning:

    OH MAN, YO DA MANI HOMI ;)

    like Mr Cushion, he gave me one of those looks - 'you messin wid me?'

    OM YA HA HUM
    anatamanfrejaHamsaka
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited February 2014
    Nirvana said:


    Sounds like an Upanishad to me: mind=Self=Atman=Brahman=God.

    Plus the idea of divinity (=well-attuned Spirit)!

    It does! Except for when he say "The mind is empty of any such from", etc, etc. :)
    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 1 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, o 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."
    Jainarayan
  • JainarayanJainarayan Veteran
    edited February 2014
    On the face of it my original question might appear to be stupid and naive, rife with ignorance, but the answers here go far beyond what I would have thought. This is great. It gives me more to delve into to learn. The thread is a keeper. :)
  • zsczsc Explorer

    On the face of it my original question might appear to be stupid and naive, rife with ignorance, but the answers here go far beyond what I would have thought. This is great. It gives me more to delve into to learn. The thread is a keeper. :)

    If this is the result of your "stupid" questions, then ask away!

    Jainarayan
  • zsczsc Explorer
    seeker242 said:

    Nirvana said:


    Sounds like an Upanishad to me: mind=Self=Atman=Brahman=God.

    Plus the idea of divinity (=well-attuned Spirit)!

    It does! Except for when he say "The mind is empty of any such from", etc, etc. :)
    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 1 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, o 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."


    @seeker242 Where is this excerpt from?
  • Q: Where is the Buddha?

    A: I killed him.







    Bonus points: with a tire iron.
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    You can always rely on someone to lower the tone...... :rolleyes:
    Invincible_summer
  • @Federica

    Yeah, I'm not good at many things. But that certainly is one of them.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    Buddha is within all of us. If I find myself doing a practice that is going "out there" to Buddha or whoever, really it is going inwards to the Buddha nature that is already within me and I'm digging for. For me, it's not so much saying a mantra or a prayer and sending it out there hoping Buddha or Padmasabbhava will hear it, but to address those qualities within myself and draw them out.
    Jainarayan
  • This is a genuine question, not trolling or being facetious, so please don't jump on me.

    The Buddha achieved nirvana, yes? My understanding of nirvana is peace, bliss, no rebirth. Yet does the Buddha not say that he will return? Moreover, if achieving nirvana severs ties to this world, how is that the Buddha can interact with us, if he does at all? That is, if the Buddha is gone, to coin a phrase, is it only superstition that makes people pray to him, and even to other buddhas. Is there any point in invoking them through mantras, e.g. Medicine Buddha mantra?

    Maybe I should know the answers, but it escapes me right now. :o

    Where is a fire when it goes out? The Buddha is in the same place. So I think.
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    in my top pocket.
    next to yama.
    They get on so well, you know.

    NOT a facetious response.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    zsc said:



    @seeker242 Where is this excerpt from?

    Red Pine translation of Bodhidharma "Bloodstream Sermon". :)

  • This is a genuine question, not trolling or being facetious, so please don't jump on me.

    The Buddha achieved nirvana, yes? My understanding of nirvana is peace, bliss, no rebirth. Yet does the Buddha not say that he will return? Moreover, if achieving nirvana severs ties to this world, how is that the Buddha can interact with us, if he does at all? That is, if the Buddha is gone, to coin a phrase, is it only superstition that makes people pray to him, and even to other buddhas. Is there any point in invoking them through mantras, e.g. Medicine Buddha mantra?

    Maybe I should know the answers, but it escapes me right now. :o

    I don't think Buddha interact with us. We interact with him because we happen to learn that he existed once and we like his teaching. Whether he returns or not is immaterial. The wheel keep on turning. Life goes on.
  • Hi,
    your understanding of nibbanam is totally wrong. In Pali-Canon it´s being descibed siply: "Nothing is here."
    Yes, Gotamo Buddho, said that there is reincarnation, if you are not far enough developed on the spiritual path. If there is enough karma it is possible, not to return to
    earth any more.
    Nibbanam has not left anything behind. There are 8 Jhanasand nibbanam is only the sixth step of it. The seventh step is: The border of possible perception and the 8th one is the Dissolement of any kind of reception, inside and outside of yourself.
    Gotamo Buddho does interact with us by his teaching, in the Pali-Canon. These are not the original teachings but the only original that are available for us. Be carefull with the selection of Pali-Canon translaters and try to proof their qualifications.
    There is a definition of Gotamo Buddho of himself, when he says that he is only a:
    Thinker. the best Worschipping is to follow the instructions of the 8fold path and not adore him like a god.
    I think you ment the Buddho consciousness. The 8fold path is the tool to achieve it.
    If one has achieved it the teaching is now obsolete for him, he doesn´t need it any more. The only neans of getting into this kind of consciousness is the 8fold path, nothing to add, nothing to take away.
    I tried it out and got everything Gotamo Buddho taught.

    anando
  • Congratulations.
    Now all you need is a dictionary.
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    When your German is as good as his English, then maybe you might have reason to 'mock'.

    Is it?
    anatamanhowvinlyn
  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran
    In Buddhism, knowledge is ONLY that which we have discovered first-hand.

    But there are teachings, and they can be helpful to a small extent. Since Buddhism is about first-hand experience, and since most of the important things in life ARE experiential and not intellectual .. teachings can only help so much.

    I will pass on two teachings.
    The first is from my own teacher (an older Tibetan monk & geshe, from the Dalai Lama's monastery).
    "Nirvana is not a place. It is a state of mind".

    And, from a book:
    “Everything is always changing. If you relax into this truth, that is Enlightenment. If you resist, this is samsara (suffering).”
    Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, “What Makes You Not a Buddhist”

    So WHERE is the Buddha?
    YOU are the Buddha .. you just don't know it yet.

    Not the answer you were looking for. But the only answer is that which you discover for yourself once you become enlightened.
    Or so we are told.
    Jainarayan
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    That is, if the Buddha is gone, to coin a phrase, is it only superstition that makes people pray to him, and even to other buddhas. Is there any point in invoking them through mantras, e.g. Medicine Buddha mantra?

    Some traditions take the view that mantras are a way of invoking certain qualities of the Buddha.
  • Where is the Buddha?
    He's always in the last place you look.
    Jeffrey
  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    edited March 2014
    This is where the Buddha is...

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca3/nibbana.html

    "There is that dimension where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor stasis; neither passing away nor arising: without stance, without foundation, without support [mental object]. This, just this, is the end of stress."

    also... this is the topic of a talk by Ven. K Sri Dhammananda

    person
  • That is, if the Buddha is gone, to coin a phrase, is it only superstition that makes people pray to him, and even to other buddhas. Is there any point in invoking them through mantras, e.g. Medicine Buddha mantra?

    Some traditions take the view that mantras are a way of invoking certain qualities of the Buddha.
    Good point. :) I like the Medicine Buddha mantra and the Pure Land Rebirth Dharani. I should recite them more frequently.
  • ...

    So WHERE is the Buddha?
    YOU are the Buddha .. you just don't know it yet.

    Not the answer you were looking for. But the only answer is that which you discover for yourself once you become enlightened.
    Or so we are told.

    Actually that's an excellent answer. I've come to understand that the Pure Land of Amitabha isn't necessarily a physical or even celestial place, but an internal one. Sort of like in Luke 17, "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
  • poptart said:

    Where is the Buddha?
    He's always in the last place you look.

    Inside.
  • poptart said:

    Where is the Buddha?
    He's always in the last place you look.
    Inside.

    Inside what?

  • Ourselves.
  • Inside our shelves?

    (Just kidding)
  • Well, actually I do have a statue of Amitabha on a shelf. :D
    poptart
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran
    edited March 2014

    In Buddhism, knowledge is ONLY that which we have discovered first-hand.

    But there are teachings, and they can be helpful to a small extent. Since Buddhism is about first-hand experience, and since most of the important things in life ARE experiential and not intellectual .. teachings can only help so much.

    I will pass on two teachings.
    The first is from my own teacher (an older Tibetan monk & geshe, from the Dalai Lama's monastery).
    "Nirvana is not a place. It is a state of mind".

    And, from a book:
    “Everything is always changing. If you relax into this truth, that is Enlightenment. If you resist, this is samsara (suffering).”
    Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, “What Makes You Not a Buddhist”

    So WHERE is the Buddha?
    YOU are the Buddha .. you just don't know it yet.

    Not the answer you were looking for. But the only answer is that which you discover for yourself once you become enlightened.
    Or so we are told.

    The wish-fulfilling jewel...

    http://www.rigpa.org/en/teachings/extracts-of-articles-and-publications/teachings-extracts-from-the-tibetan-book-of-living-and-dying/teachings-compassion-the-wish-fulfilling-jewel.html
  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran
    To me, the Buddha exists in the form of his teachings, the Dhamma.
    Nirvana
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    Well, actually I do have a statue of Amitabha on a shelf. :D

    I have several Buddhas on shelves, which I created specially for the purpose...( the shelves, not the Buddhas ) :p

    Jainarayan
  • Well, actually I do have a statue of Amitabha on a shelf. :D

    I have several Buddhas on shelves, which I created specially for the purpose...( the shelves, not the Buddhas ) :p

    That's pretty much what my shrine is becoming... just a special place for small statues of the buddhas and bodhisattvas. Per my other post, I'm trying to get away from the formerly elaborate and overthought externals.

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