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Heart Sutra

edited October 2010 in Buddhism Today
I heard that there is a sutra called Heart Sutra which describes the reality of nature in Madhyamika Tradition of Buddhism. If this is a sutra by Lord Buddha why is it not there in other traditions such as Theravadha?
Or is there an equivalen one?

Comments

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited October 2010
    It was not recorded at the same time as the Pali Canon. Presumably there was an oral tradition from disciple to disciple regarding the heart sutra (or the understanding behind it). An alternative suggestion would be that it was developed independently of the buddha but thats just something that causes upset and dissention so its best to keep that opinion to oneself. Presuming it is not your goal in the first place to cause upset :D.

    To elaborate I think if you were talking to your best friend who was a mahayana practitioner you could tell them in a sensitive way that you thought the heart sutra was hogwash. But on a public forum it is likely to cause hurt feelings and possibly a CF flame war.

    Similarly a mahayana practioner might express to their friend who was a theravadan that they feel that the theravadin teaching is missing 2 turns of the wheel of dharma (prajnaparamita and buddha nature), but on a public forum such an assertion is likely to be flame bait.

    Troll wisely or not at all :)

    Oh and since the HS was not set in the Pali Canon it never entered into the practice lineage of the Theravadins. I am not sure the story of how the heart sutra came to Mahayana buddhism but probably some monk or other was giving those teachings and they eventually traveled outside of India.
  • edited October 2010
    Thanks for your reply.
    My intention was to find out any equivalent teachings in other traditions
    and read about them.
    I am impressed by the ideas in the Heart Sutra.
  • RichardHRichardH Veteran
    edited October 2010
    The heart of the heart sutra, "form is not other than emptiness, emptiness is not other than form" can be understood as the end point of anatta investigation . This end point is not an essence or entity but a benchmark where what was previously seen as being "self", "I" , or the subject of awareness, comes to be realized as being the object of awareness. Emptiness refers to the clarified "emptied" subjective pole of awareness ("no eye, ear, nose, toungue, body, mind, no realm of sight...etc.) This emptiness is experienced as true subjectlessness, and a realization of the "aloneness", wholeness, and self-luminous nature of all "objects" at once. (ie bodymind, and world).

    The connection to Theravadin teaching is actually straightforward. It can be seen as another take on anatta, except that "emptiness" is generalized. Whereas anatta, says bodymind is without a permanent unchanging self essence, "Emptiness" is the recognition of that in "all Dharmas"."
  • edited October 2010
    Thanks Richard for your excellent explaination.
  • edited October 2010
    Rohana wrote: »
    I heard that there is a sutra called Heart Sutra which describes the reality of nature in Madhyamika Tradition of Buddhism. If this is a sutra by Lord Buddha why is it not there in other traditions such as Theravadha?
    Or is there an equivalen one?
    There is a part of the Pali Canon that resembles and may have inspired the Heart Sutra. It is called the Atthakavaga.
  • edited October 2010
    Thanks Shenpen.
  • edited October 2010
    Rohana wrote: »
    Thanks Shenpen.

    You are very welcome.
  • edited October 2010
    I've been studying the heart sutra. Brilliant. Really helping me out with my understanding
  • edited October 2010
    TheJourney wrote: »
    I've been studying the heart sutra. Brilliant. Really helping me out with my understanding

    There are a couple of really excellent commentaries available.
    Essence of the Heart Sutra by the Dalai lama
    and
    The Heart of the Universe by Mu Soeng
  • edited October 2010
    Thanks Shenpen,
    I was going ask what are recommended books on this topic.
    You answered before I asked.

    I heard that there are several versions of Heart Sutra which differ in length.
    Which is the most comprehensive one translated to english?
  • RichardHRichardH Veteran
    edited October 2010
    This is the translation used in the Kwan Um school of Zen. It is chanted during group practice and is a core teaching. There are many different translations but they differ more in style than substance. Some are more poetic, some, like this one, quite plain. The key points are pretty straightforward.





    Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva
    when practicing deeply the Prajna Paramita
    perceives that all five skandhas are empty
    and is saved from all suffering and distress.
    Shariputra,
    form does not differ from emptiness,
    emptiness does not differ from form.
    That which is form is emptiness,
    that which is emptiness form.
    The same is true of feelings,
    perceptions, impulses, consciousness.
    Shariputra,
    all dharmas are marked with emptiness;
    they do not appear or disappear,
    are not tainted or pure,
    do not increase or decrease.
    Therefore, in emptiness no form, no feelings,
    perceptions, impulses, consciousness.
    No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind;
    no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch,
    no object of mind;
    no realm of eyes
    and so forth until no realm of mind consciousness.
    No ignorance and also no extinction of it,
    and so forth until no old age and death
    and also no extinction of them.
    No suffering, no origination,
    no stopping, no path, no cognition,
    also no attainment with nothing to attain.
    The Bodhisattva depends on Prajna Paramita
    and the mind is no hindrance;
    without any hindrance no fears exist.
    Far apart from every perverted view one dwells in Nirvana.
    In the three worlds
    all Buddhas depend on Prajna Paramita
    and attain Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi.
    Therefore know that Prajna Paramita
    is the great transcendent mantra,
    is the great bright mantra,
    is the utmost mantra,
    is the supreme mantra
    which is able to relieve all suffering
    and is true, not false.
    So proclaim the Prajna Paramita mantra,
    proclaim the mantra which says: gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
    gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
    gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.
  • edited October 2010
    Rohana wrote: »
    Thanks Shenpen,
    I was going ask what are recommended books on this topic.
    You answered before I asked.

    I heard that there are several versions of Heart Sutra which differ in length.
    Which is the most comprehensive one translated to english?
    You're welcome.
    I think the translation Richard posted is really great.
    Its clear and concise and used in tandem with the commentaries I suggested before should be a great tool.
  • edited October 2010
    The Heart Sutra so-called is actually the Prajnaparamitahrdayasutra or "The Heart of the Pefection of Wisdom Sutra". There are several different length versions of the Prajnaparamita Sutra of which the Heart Sutra is the essence. I believe that Edward Conze has the most complete translations of the longer versions, but they are not the most poetic.
  • edited October 2010
    Thanks karmadorje,
    That was the answer I was looking for.
  • edited October 2010
    .

    The Mahayana Heart sutra was composed a long time after the death of the Buddha and is supposed to have been spoken by a bodhisattva deity.

    Its well worth reading the Pali Canon before looking at later interpretations and additions to the Buddha's words.

    This sutta is particularly poignant :

    <!-- /robots -->SN 20.7 Ani Sutta: The Peg



    <!-- #H_billboard --><!-- /robots -->Staying at Savatthi. "Monks, there once was a time when the Dasarahas had a large drum called 'Summoner.' Whenever Summoner was split, the Dasarahas inserted another peg in it, until the time came when Summoner's original wooden body had disappeared and only a conglomeration of pegs remained.

    "In the same way, in the course of the future there will be monks who won't listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited.

    They won't lend ear, won't set their hearts on knowing them, won't regard these teachings as worth grasping or mastering. But they will listen when discourses that are literary works — the works of poets, elegant in sound, elegant in rhetoric, the work of outsiders, words of disciples — are recited. They will lend ear and set their hearts on knowing them. They will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.

    "In this way the disappearance of the discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — will come about.

    "Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. We will lend ear, will set our hearts on knowing them, will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.' That's how you should train yourselves."

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn20/sn20.007.than.html



    With kind wishes to all,

    Dazzle

    <LINK rel=stylesheet type=text/css href="http://www.google.com/uds/api/search/1.0/039ef4677591ed11db202edf04243dae/default.css"></LINK><SCRIPT type=text/javascript src="http://www.google.com/uds/api/search/1.0/039ef4677591ed11db202edf04243dae/default+en_GB.I.js"></SCRIPT&gt;
  • edited October 2010
    ^putting your own personal bias into your interpretation of the heart sutra, no? I'm quite sure according to the mahayana believe that the heart sutra, as the other mahayana scriptures, originate with the buddha. If you don't believe that, that's fine, but don't say that they don't as if it's fact possibly throwing off someone new on the path.
  • edited October 2010
    The emptiness surely connot have the concept of time in it.
    However the form has the concept of time in it.
    I believe the concept of time is not real but an illusion.
    Does anyone understand how the concept of time originating from emptiness?
  • edited October 2010
    the truth is unborn and does not die. Therefore, for the truth, time does not affect it. Time affects form, which is empty, which as you say is not subject to time.
  • edited October 2010
    Thanks TheJourney,

    What I was trying to understnad was that the concept of time cannot be an absolute truth, its must only be a conventional truth. If the concept of time is an absolute truth and it is a part of emptiness, emptiness can not be really empty.
    I was wondering how the concept of time is originating from emptiness.
  • RichardHRichardH Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Dazzle. Speaking as a longtime friend of the the Thai Forest Sangha, and Lay follower of Ajahn Viradhammo here in Canada, I renounce Sectarian views. You say you know Ajahn Sumedho? or have heard him teach? Why not compile your postings on Mahayana Buddhism and take them to him, see what he thinks of your attitude?

    I agree that a grounding in the Suttas is important, and was given the Dharma name (Kojip) "Four Noble truths" by a Zen master who recognized the importance of that grounding. But your repeated Theravada is the true way posts that put down Mahayana are so unwise. It does not reflect well on the people you profess to follow. Ajahn Sumedho would never call into question key Mahayana Sutras like that, in fact he admires and shows respect for Mahayana Buddhists.

    According to your posts you only recently came to the Thai Forest Tradition, after being unhappy with Tibetan Buddhism. Now you speak for Theravada, putting down Mahayana at every turn. Get over it.
  • robotrobot Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Rohana-I thought I might give you my own understanding of the emptiness of time which is pretty weak, then decided that you should hear the original version.
    1. If the present and future depend on the past, then the present and the future would have existed in the past.
    2. If the present and the future did not exist there, how could the present and future be dependent on it?
    3. If they are not dependent upon the past, neither of the two would be established. Therefore neither the present nor the future would exist.
    4. By the same method, the other two divisions-past and future, upper, lower, middle,ect.,Unity, ect.,should be understood.
    5. A nonstatic time is not grasped. Nothing one could grasp as stationary time exists. If time is not grasped, how is it known?
    6. If time depends on an entity, then without an entity how could time exist? There is no existent entity.So how can time exist.
    This is from Nagarjuna's The fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way. Jay Garfield translation. I am not claiming to have realized the emptiness of time but I have found this book to be a good place to start.-P
  • edited October 2010
    robot wrote: »
    Rohana-I thought I might give you my own understanding of the emptiness of time which is pretty weak, then decided that you should hear the original version.
    1. If the present and future depend on the past, then the present and the future would have existed in the past.
    2. If the present and the future did not exist there, how could the present and future be dependent on it?
    3. If they are not dependent upon the past, neither of the two would be established. Therefore neither the present nor the future would exist.
    4. By the same method, the other two divisions-past and future, upper, lower, middle,ect.,Unity, ect.,should be understood.
    5. A nonstatic time is not grasped. Nothing one could grasp as stationary time exists. If time is not grasped, how is it known?
    6. If time depends on an entity, then without an entity how could time exist? There is no existent entity.So how can time exist.
    This is from Nagarjuna's The fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way. Jay Garfield translation. I am not claiming to have realized the emptiness of time but I have found this book to be a good place to start.-P

    Woah. Thanks for that.
  • edited October 2010
    Richard H wrote: »
    Speaking as a long time friend of the Thai Forest Sangha.... etc etc.....According to your posts you only recently came to the Thai Forest Tradition, after being unhappy with Tibetan Buddhism. Now you speak for Theravada, putting down Mahayana at every turn. Get over it.


    Yes I'm aware that you are always speaking proudly here about your longterm 'connections' Richard.

    Are you implying I'm sectarian? My post doesn't even mention Theravada, what's that got to do with anything. Its my own opinion, if that's alright with you... and you are not my teacher, thanks.

    I suggest you examine the evidence of historians and do a little research before you trash my post. The sutra also says..." ..the holy Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva, the great being, spoke to the venerable Shariputra and said .."etc"

    The sutra is supposed to be spoken by Avalokiteshvara - a deity .

    If one looks in the earlier Pali Canon suttas one can see where ideas in some of the text may have originated.

    After seeing you mentioning Theravada, I found this commentary on the Heart Sutra on a Theravada website. The author is a student of a Forest Tradition teacher.

    http://www.theravada.ca/writings/69-heart-sutra-commentary-by-brian-ruhe-.html


    To admonish me for mentioning any of this is getting worryingly fundamentalist in flavour. Please relax, be at ease, Richard dear, have a nice cup of tea and put your feet up for half an hour. As you so wisely said yourself "Get over it."


    .
  • RichardHRichardH Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Dazzle wrote: »
    Yes I'm aware that you are always speaking proudly here about your long 'connections' Richard.

    Are you implying I'm sectarian? My post doesn't even mention Theravada, what's that got to do with anything. Its my own opinion, if that's alright with you... and you are not my teacher, thanks.

    I suggest you examine the evidence of historians and do a little research before you trash my post. The sutra also says..." ..the holy Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva, the great being, spoke to the venerable Shariputra and said .."etc"

    The sutra is supposed to be spoken by Avalokiteshvara - a deity .

    If one looks in the earlier Pali Canon suttas one can see where ideas in some of the text may have originated.

    After seeing you mentioning Theravada, I found this commentary on the Heart Sutra on a Theravada website. The author is a student of a Forest Tradition teacher.

    http://www.theravada.ca/writings/69-heart-sutra-commentary-by-brian-ruhe-.html


    To admonish me for mentioning any of this is getting worryingly fundamentalist in flavour. Please relax, be at ease, Richard dear, have a nice cup of tea and put your feet up for half an hour. As you so wisely said yourself "Get over it."


    .
    It's not pride, though I'm obviously not free of pride, Dazzle. It is knowing and living in the the lay sangha for most of my adult life, and being disgusted that anyone would go online to do nothing more than Evangelize Theravada and attack the legitimacy of Mahayana. It is a sick agenda.
  • edited October 2010
    Robot,
    Thanks for your contribution.
    I have to read it several times and try to grasp the idea.
    I recently bought the book The Central Philosophy of Buddhism
    : A study on the Madhyamika System.
    I hope to find similar line of thinking as it is also discusses about
    Nagarjuna's understandings.
  • edited October 2010
    Richard H wrote: »
    It's not pride, though I'm obviously not free of pride, Dazzle. It is knowing and living in the the lay sangha for most of my adult life, and being disgusted that anyone would go online to do nothing more than Evangelize Theravada and attack the legitimacy of Mahayana. It is a sick agenda.


    Evangelising Theravada? You're way off target in your opinions about me, that's not what I'm doing Richard. You forget that I was an offline Mahayana practitioner for most of my adult life and I am very grateful for some of the things I learned from respected teachers.

    New Buddhist isn't, to my knowledge, meant to be an exclusively Mahayana forum however, so I think you need to be careful about appointing yourself chief of the Dharma police whilst trying, it seems to me, to hound me out of the forum, along with a certain TB person who likes to take a pop at me whenever he can. As for being 'disgusted' and a 'sick agenda', I recall a very crude remark you once made to me here on the lines that I must be boring in the sack, and I wonder about your priorities, Richard.

    You know nothing about me, or my practice, so always be cautious at whom your 'being disgusted' is directed. It might be worthwhile examining those feelings carefully too.




    .
  • RichardHRichardH Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Your sole agenda is the promotion of Theravada and attacking the legitimacy of Mahayana. That's it. Your posts are consistent. There are things in both traditions and sanghas to be criticized and called to task. I for one consider the pali canon primary and essential, but it is not a zero sum game Dazzle. Practicing Theravada dosn't mean attacking the legitimacy of Mahayana. It is off Dazzle. really really off. get over it.
  • edited October 2010
    Richard H wrote: »
    Your sole agenda is the promotion of Theravada and attacking the legitimacy of Mahayana. That's it. Your posts are consistent. There are things in both traditions and sanghas to be criticized and called to task. I for one consider the pali canon primary and essential, but it is not a zero sum game Dazzle. Practicing Theravada dosn't mean attacking the legitimacy of Mahayana. It is off Dazzle. really really off. get over it.


    A vision of an angry little snappy dog with its teeth in a bone it can't let go of, just came into my mind.

    You're wrong - and I've nothing to get over, your words don't mean anything to me, there's just the sound of the wind in the trees outside my window.

    Sincerely hoping you have a nice, happy day (or night) Richard. I've got important things to attend to offline now, bye.




    .
  • edited October 2010
    "Rohana-I thought I might give you my own understanding of the emptiness of time which is pretty weak, then decided that you should hear the original version."

    Robot,
    I would like to hear about your own understanding of emtiness of time as well.
  • RichardHRichardH Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Sorry for mucking with your thread Rohana. There is a history on this forum of every thread on the Heart Sutra turning into having to defend the very legitimacy of that sutra, instead of discussing its practice. I got fed up with it.


    sorry again.
  • RichardHRichardH Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Dazzle wrote: »
    A vision of an angry little snappy dog with its teeth in a bone it can't let go of, just came into my mind.

    You're wrong - and I've nothing to get over, your words don't mean anything to me, there's just the sound of the wind in the trees outside my window.

    Sincerely hoping you have a nice, happy day (or night) Richard. I've got important things to attend to offline now, bye.




    .
    Sitting in an airport lounge, the morning sun raking the computer keys. Flight 685 bound for Calgary prepares to board, sketchbooks and digital camera in bag, a car waiting on the other side. Going to paint the Rockies. It will indeed be a nice day :D

    The notions of then were then. Aint it something.

    You have a good day as well.:)
  • robotrobot Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Rohana-wow interesting diversion! Anyway my thoughts on emptiness, whenever I try to write them down sound to me like regurgitations of of the work of truly realized people. However when I am contemplating the emptiness of time I find that the past and future are fairly easy to set aside because they are obviously nothing more than a type of thought. The present moment is impossible to pin down because it evaporates instantly. In fact if you try to set a time frame for it, you can see that there is no limit to how short it can be. Like in the case of a particle, it can be divided in half infinitely, until it disappears into the past and future which clearly don't exist. For me this is about where thinking about it stops. Plenty of words have been written to help people to get a realization of emptiness. Words cannot describe the experience of it but they can point out the potential pitfalls and errors one can make trying to get the correct view of it. Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, Shantarakshita, are enough to keep me busy for some time to come.:confused::)-P
  • edited October 2010
    Thanks robot
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Rohana,

    Sorry I assumed that it would come to conflict well no actually I think that was a fear. But sorry I assumed so much rather than hear what you wanted. I would imagine that if buddha taught one disciple something, that that disciple understood very clearly and in a unique way. Even so by the power of the dharma (ok I am guessing a bit) perhaps the buddhist also influenced the other person in that same thrust though they may understand it differently. So I can see that now and I am glad Richard had some idea of Therevada to help see how the ideas of the heart sutra also influenced the Therevadans (I believe) and vice versa. Though each sees it with a unique focus and formulation. I hope you understand what I am saying.
  • edited October 2010
    Jeffry,

    I don't want to get involved in this controversy.
    Although I am a therevada buddhist by birth,
    I am open to interesting ideas in other traditions.
  • RichardHRichardH Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Rohana wrote: »
    Jeffry,

    I don't want to get involved in this controversy.
    Although I am a therevada buddhist by birth,
    I am open to interesting ideas in other traditions.
    No disrespect Rohana, but your OP was an invitation for it. The Heart Sutra is not controversal for millions of people. The very notion of a "Heart Sutra controversy" is sad. Buddhism is not free of the sectarian impulse. It seems to be a human thing. I am also a Theravdin Buddhist, yet am aware that there is an unfortunate streak of chauvinism within the tradition. It is also found among some Zen and Tibetan Buddhists.

    This is just frank talk, it shouldn't be uncomfortable.
  • edited October 2010
    Richard,
    I didn't know that the 'Heart Sutra' was such a controversal issue.
    I believe that the way I asked the question was misleading.
    I am sorry about that.
  • RichardHRichardH Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Rohana wrote: »
    Richard,
    I didn't know that the 'Heart Sutra' was such a controversal issue.
    I believe that the way I asked the question was misleading.
    I am sorry about that.


    Lets just clear this up, lets address the issues around the OP. Buddhism has three main branches or streams, Theravada, Tibetan (Vajrayana), and Zen (Chan, Seon). Each stream has millions of practitioners. Two of these three branches of Buddhism practice with the Heart Sutra. There is nothing remotely "controversial" about the the Heart Sutra to these practitioners. It is only Controversial to some Theravadins. Now this should just be an issue for Theravadin Buddhists, or maybe an opportunity for sharing between traditions, but unfortunately, at least on internet fora, it is not. Some Theravadins have a firm view that their tradition is the True Way, and the others are not. They make a point of that.

    There is also an unfortunate tendency with some practioners of Zen and Vajrayana to denegrate Theravada as "Hinayana", which can be interpreted as meaning little, minor, selfish, or otherwise lowly. So you can see that no one has cornered the market on sectarian crap.

    If we are talking about the Heart Sutra though. The "Controversy" is only in the minds of some Theravadins.
  • edited October 2010
    Richard regarding your previous post #39, a friend who practises with a branch of Soto Zen in a different country to me, told me that at her centre they don't use the Heart Sutra as being relevant to their practice at all, but sometimes refer directly to Pali Canon suttas.
    I'm definately not intending to start an argument, and have you telling me I'm sectarian again - I'm just telling you what I was told myself, because you said Zen practised with the Heart Sutra.

    I guess the best way for me to find out if branches of Soto Zen vary, would be to ask at the Zen Forum International website. Maybe I'll ask Ven Nonin in the 'Ask a Teacher' section there.


    .
  • ShutokuShutoku Veteran
    edited October 2010
    a couple things

    1. Richard, I think you misspoke. the three streams of Buddhism are Theravada, Vajrayana and Mahayana. Mahayana contains many schools outside of Zen. obviously you know this, but I wanted to clarify.

    2. Dazzle. I highly doubt you will find another Soto centre that does not utilise the heart sutra, as it is central to Soto Zenshu liturgy. A Soto centre not using it is taking a somewhat unorthadox approach.

    3. The link featuring a commentary by Brian Ruhe, the tone is most definitely sectarian. Even to the point of Mr. Ruhe stating "Devas exist. Deities do not exist".
    I'm not certain how Mr. Ruhe has the ability to know which myths are true and which aren't that he can state it in such a matter of fact way, but I think he might have a tough time convincing anyone outside of Buddhism that "Deva's exist" unless he means purely in a mythological way.

    4. All Suttas and Sutras were "composed a long time after the death of the Buddha"
    Speaking for myself, I feel that if a teaching is true, it is unimportant who said it, or when.
  • edited October 2010
    Shutoku wrote: »
    Speaking for myself, I feel that if a teaching is true, it is unimportant who said it, or when.

    This is a key point that people often forget. Buddhism isn't supposed to be dogmatic. It's about truth, not being a follower. Sure, we believe the buddha speaks truth, but ultimately we're truth-seekers and not buddha-followers(sure, as buddhists we understand that they're the same thing. But the focus is on truth, and the only reason we follow the buddha is because he speaks truth.) Gautama does not have a monopoly on the truth.
  • ShutokuShutoku Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Rohana wrote: »
    I heard that there is a sutra called Heart Sutra which describes the reality of nature in Madhyamika Tradition of Buddhism. If this is a sutra by Lord Buddha why is it not there in other traditions such as Theravadha?
    Or is there an equivalen one?
    This is sort of similar:
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.059.nymo.html
  • RichardHRichardH Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Shutoku wrote: »
    1. Richard, I think you misspoke. the three streams of Buddhism are Theravada, Vajrayana and Mahayana. Mahayana contains many schools outside of Zen. obviously you know this, but I wanted to clarify..
    Yes. I was making a blunt distinction. There is a spectrum of Dharma. For what it's worth I do not use the three tier model, Theravada at the bottom, Mahayana in the middle, and Vajrayana being the highest. Personally I think those disctinctions are unhelpful and unrealistic. The depth of realization in all three vehicles is the same. That is a debatable position I know, but that is my view, having a history in both Mahayana (Zen) and Theravada at any rate. And as far as Behaviour is concerned the truest "Bodhisattvas" I've had the good fortune to encounter have been Theravadin.

    Just my view of it. You may see it otherwise.

    Shutoku wrote: »
    2. Dazzle. I highly doubt you will find another Soto centre that does not utilise the heart sutra, as it is central to Soto Zenshu liturgy. A Soto centre not using it is taking a somewhat unorthadox approach...
    That is quite right.
  • edited October 2010
    Shutoku wrote: »
    The link featuring a commentary by Brian Ruhe, the tone is most definitely sectarian. Even to the point of Mr. Ruhe stating "Devas exist. Deities do not exist".
    I'm not certain how Mr. Ruhe has the ability to know which myths are true and which aren't that he can state it in such a matter of fact way, but I think he might have a tough time convincing anyone outside of Buddhism that "Deva's exist" unless he means purely in a mythological way.

    4. All Suttas and Sutras were "composed a long time after the death of the Buddha"
    Speaking for myself, I feel that if a teaching is true, it is unimportant who said it, or when.


    All internet group chat in general is just views and opinions, so its best not to take it too seriously and neglect our offline practice.

    I've heard more than one teacher from more than one tradition speak jokingly about the internet. I've heard a Vajrayana teacher said that if Milarepa had a computer it would probably have delayed his enlightenment, I've heard a Theravada teacher say that if we're looking for arhants we won't find them on the internet in Facebook.

    Time to start my busy city (rather chilly) day now .

    Lots of good wishes to everyone and have a lovely day yourselves.

    D.
  • edited October 2010
    Richard H wrote: »
    Personally I think those disctinctions are unhelpful and unrealistic.

    This article is by Ajahn Amaro who is taking over from Ajahn Sumedho very soon as abbot of Amaravati Monastery UK, when Ajahn Sumedho goes to Thailand to retire next month.

    Ajahn Amaro mentions the Heart Sutra in the article.

    "Between Arhat and Bodhisattva - Finding the Perfect Balance"

    http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/issues/2008/summer/balance.php





    .
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