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Being your own kind of Buddha

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran
edited April 2016 in Philosophy

Since it was Sunday yesterday I went for a very long (and tiring) walk, and thought I would listen to an audio lecture by Osho. In the lecture, he was asked a question which kind of pertains to Buddhism. I thought it might be an interesting starting point for a discussion. The question was this:

Govinda: Can I become Gautama the Buddha, honestly?
Osho: Everyone possesses Buddha nature, so yes, you can become a Buddha. But you cannot become Gautama the Buddha. Nature makes everything and everyone unique - every pebble on the beach, every fingerprint, every grain of sand. Gautama was Gautama the Buddha, what purpose would be served by being him again? He did everything Gautama ought to have done. By trying to be him again you would just become an imitation, and this would damage you. It is better to try and be Govinda the Buddha.

So this set me to thinking, where does one draw the line between learning from an enlightened master like the Buddha, and copying him? Gautama the Buddha left behind many sutra's, a detailed description of the path to enlightenment. How far does that path carry you towards becoming a copy?

Undeniably you are changed by undertaking a serious study of Buddhism. If you take it on board and put it into action, you are no longer the same person as you were before, and in part this is the point, it is a path towards self improvement, or transformation. But you also have qualities that make you you. Gautama turned out to be a great teacher, Govinda might be quite different. What parts of yourself should you attempt to change, and where should you accept your individuality?

personkarasti

Comments

  • You do not become a copy.
    It is not a case of trying to change yourself or which part to change.
    You awaken (become a Buddha) as you are.
    You 'change' as a matter of course.
    Teachers are guides - they may be awakened or not
    You have many 'teachers'.
    Some do not know they are teachers
    Everyone you meet or see is or can be your teacher at that moment
    You are also your own teacher.

    silverJeroenlobster
  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    You change the parts of yourself that are causing you or others dukkha. You keep the harmonious parts and the creative parts, the joyous parts.

    lobster
  • 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

    I am who I am, unenlightened.
    I am a better who I am, Enlightened.

    lobsterDakini
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @Lionduck said:
    It is not a case of trying to change yourself
    You awaken (become a Buddha) as you are.
    You 'change' as a matter of course.

    Forgive me, but if you begin a serious effort to follow the five precepts or the six perfections, you are making conscious changes in your behaviour - you change from who you were moments ago. That is not a question of awakening or realisation, but rote following of a set path.

    Although much of Buddhism is about realisation, for example hearing Thich Nhat Hanh talk about emptiness and interdependence may bring a sudden cascade of insights, a mini awakening if you will, not all of it seems to be that.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    I believe it was Gautana who suggested,

    Better your own Dharma (Truth),
    However weak
    Than the Dharma (Truth) of another,
    However noble.

    personNavigator
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    I have found this path to be a personal one. Although we have a general guide, everybody experiences it differently.

  • @Kerome, we are never the same person we were even a moment ago, nor will we remain the same person we are now. Buddhism or badminton, conscious effort yields conscious change.
    If you lock in on the 'how', the process, regardless of the path you choose, regardless of the sutra or sutras you read, the teachers you meet, the 'practice' you 'follow', (Thervadic, Tantric, Mahayana..Zen or Nichiren) you will only be learning by rote. Sometimes comforting, for a while, but no awakening.

    The best teachings and the best teachers can only show you a way, a path. It is up to you to choose (or not) to follow that path. What you learn and what you awaken to on that path all depends on you. You determine if it is the right path or the wrong path for you.

    Even the 'right' path will not lead you out of the darkness if you are frightened away by the light.

    These are truisms, certainly, but much of the 'wisdom' of the ages is such.

    I'm getting too darn serious, bad habit. Where's Spiney's Temple of the Vanilla Dharma when you need it?

    Peace to all

    lobster
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited April 2016

    What you seem to be saying is you need to work on your understanding first, and then follow the precepts or whatever form of conscious change you are undertaking, otherwise ultimately the effort will be hollow. That seems reasonable, although it does presuppose that enlightenment can happen through the mind, which is not something everyone agrees upon :)

    lobster
  • @Kerome said:
    What you seem to be saying is you need to work on your understanding first, and then follow the precepts or whatever form of conscious change you are undertaking, otherwise ultimately the effort will be hollow.

    The following of outward virtue is important. Sila is the Buddhist version.
    http://opcoa.st/0LpJk-50780

    That seems reasonable, although it does presuppose that enlightenment can happen through the mind, which is not something everyone agrees upon :)

    Who without a mind disagrees?

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    In my initial incursion into Buddhism I accepted and incorporated rather unquestioningly many of the cultural trappings and traditions of the Tibetan lineage. After several fairly intensive and devout years my interest waned though I never totally abandoned the practice. I then reengaged several years ago after a bad accident and found many of those same traditions were now rather unappealing. I myself had changed in the between years by applying what I had learned previously to my life. So when going back I could really see the 'true' Buddhism that had shaped me and my life and the aspects I was 'copying' before.

    I'm not sure what I'm saying but if the Buddhism you practice doesn't touch you and change your character you're probably just copying.

    JeroenlobsterLionduckDavid
  • LionduckLionduck Veteran
    edited April 2016

    @person said:

    I'm not sure what I'm saying but if the Buddhism you practice doesn't touch you and change your character you're probably just copying.

    Precisely. It is not the trappings, not the ritual; it is the engagement which matters.

    lobsterperson
  • 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

    @Kerome said:
    What you seem to be saying is you need to work on your understanding first, and then follow the precepts or whatever form of conscious change you are undertaking, otherwise ultimately the effort will be hollow. That seems reasonable, although it does presuppose that enlightenment can happen through the mind, which is not something everyone agrees upon :)

    Where else would it happen....? :confused:

    Zenshinlobster
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited April 2016

    @federica said:

    @Kerome said:
    That seems reasonable, although it does presuppose that enlightenment can happen through the mind, which is not something everyone agrees upon :)

    Where else would it happen....? :confused:

    "The romantic idea of enlightenment as insight into a timeless, transcendent reality has been popularized especially by D.T. Suzuki." From

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightenment_in_Buddhism

    One might argue it becomes a faculty of vision, or a sensory experience beyond the usual senses, attached to the mind but not part of it. I haven't been able to find a really clear conceptual explanation, probably because such could only come from someone who had experienced it.

    Certainly a variety of teachers have talked about enlightenment as an experience beyond the mind, often using such phrases as 'it cannot be explained in words, only pointed to'. It's the finger pointing to the moon.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    edited April 2016

    I think it would be pretty hard to try to be Gautama in the world we live in today ;) the thing with Buddhism and all wisdom traditions is that we cling to them like most things in life. Even our teachers cling to them, the rituals, the definitions, the precepts and "rules." But to me, the people who live those beliefs most obviously are those who have let go of those things. Buddhism is the raft that takes you across the river, but you must abandon it to get off on the other side, as the saying goes. Adhering to strict definitions, precepts ,rituals etc help us to get on the raft and sail it but in the end, it too must go if we are to live freely. Being tethered to the raft while the shore is right there isn't exactly appealing, is it?

    Just because I like analogies, lol, I hate clothing. Especially in the winter when so much of it is required. Nothing is more freeing to me than being able to get undressed for a shower or at the end of the day. I imagine reaching that level of understanding within Buddhism is a lot the same. ritual, precept, directions are the clothing we wear, we need it sometimes and it serves a purpose. But it is nothing compared to the freedom of being able to take it off, when we arrive at that point. And I think that is when we start to realize what our Buddha nature is.

    silverDavid
  • @Kerome said:

    One might argue it becomes a faculty of vision, or a sensory experience beyond the usual senses, attached to the mind but not part of it. I haven't been able to find a really clear conceptual explanation, probably because such could only come from someone who had experienced it.

    Indeed.
    In many ways we have to keep developing the infrastructure and read the difficulties of expressing the finger moon or in the popular vernacular the 'mooning finger'.

    Enlightenment from what I know, is not vision or attached to something in mind.

    It is Mind itself.

    Certainly a variety of teachers have talked about enlightenment as an experience beyond the mind, often using such phrases as 'it cannot be explained in words, only pointed to'. It's the finger pointing to the moon.

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