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One religion or many?

opiumpoetryopiumpoetry Delaware, Ohio, USA Explorer

Would anyone agree that Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana and Navayana are actually 4 different religions rather than just one?

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Comments

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran

    What is Navayāna?

  • 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

    Here's some information. I think it means "Fiction&Fantasy" in English...

    @opiumpoetry while I personally view Theravada as the Origin, and Mahayana/Vajrayana as offshoots with legitimate foundation, I'm afraid I cannot view Navayana seriously, and therefore dismiss it as a contender.
    YMMV, but to me, it's cherry-picking to the extreme, and I'm not even inclined to consider it an option.

    Rob_V
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    opiumpoetry
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    opiumpoetry
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @opiumpoetry said:
    Would anyone agree that Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana and Navayana are actually 4 different religions rather than just one?

    I'm reminded of this ...

    "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" followers of all the above mentioned have (and no doubt are still) benefiting in some way from the different style teachings...

    Each to their own beliefs...whatever floats their rafts...

    Different strokes of the paddle for different folks on the rafts

    Personally I don't get involved in Buddhist politics...I 'mind' my own business...

    lobsterFrogpondFosdick
  • SuraShineSuraShine South Australia Explorer

    @lobster I could stare at that gif all day - it's so peaceful and relaxing :)

    lobsterFrogpond
  • FrogpondFrogpond California Explorer

    @FeistyGibblets said:
    This reminds me of the "my Buddhism is better than yours" arguments I have heard/seen among some people. I find it unskillful and not important in the scheme of things. I'd rather focus on learning the Dharma and trying to implement it in my day to day life.

    I grew up Catholic - other denominations (particularly the Lutherans here) would say really crappy things about Catholics (including that favourite chestnut "you worship Mary and the Saints, you're not really Christians" etc). Yet for all the infighting going on between Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans etc - they're ALL Christians who believe the same thing - that Jesus died for the world and is the Messiah. Yet they sweat the small stuff and miss the point. That's how I see any argument for different schools of Buddhism being "The One True Path ™"

    100% agree @FeistyGibblets

  • FrogpondFrogpond California Explorer

    Thank you @lobster. I love that gif.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    The one doubt I have in this area is about Pure Land Buddhism. Now this is all according to what I have heard and read, so take it with a grain of salt, I am not an authority on the streams of buddhism. Anyway It is very popular in China and it’s adherents believe that by reciting the nembutsu, the name of Amitabha Buddha, they cause him to come and save them at the moment of death and take them to his Pure Land in the afterlife. It’s seen as a substitute for enlightenment, as far as I can gather.

    This belief in the nembutsu and in the Pure Land and in Amitabha Buddha as a kind of saviour figure turns Buddhism on its head and makes it into a kind of simplified Christianity, with a single prayer, a saviour and heaven. Is it still Buddhism? You tell me. It’s certainly very different from the self reliance preached in Theravada.

  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran
    edited April 2

    The Pureland is not a place outside of yourself... the Buddha (Nembutsu) is not a call to anything but the Buddha Nature within... The Pureland and Buddha are always withing us but obstructions hide them... remove the obstructions and you will be in the Pureland next to the Buddha.

    lobsterBunks
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    remove the obstructions and you will be in the Pureland next to the Buddha.

    Never doubt that because it is true. It almost sounds new agey/inane. However the closer to the Pureland/Buddha the more confidence in dharma emerges ...

    Iz plan Buddha?
    She say, Yes!

    Bunksjohnathan
  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited April 3

    Something I've always wondered is, if Sukhāvatī is outside the three worlds, how is it the "Western" Paradise? How does directionality apply to it at all, if it is neither in the desire realms, nor the form realms, nor the formless realms?

    I have my own thoughts on this, related to what I call the "geographical naïvety" of late Iron Age India. I think Indians used to think of the world as impossibly vast and functionally endless, even if an "end" to the world-disk was imagined in theory. Certainly I can think of no accounts of travellers who ever claimed to have reached this edge. Extrapolating further from this, I think that Sukhāvatī was originally thought of being "somewhere out there" to the West, a physical place, much like ancient Daoists imagined that "somewhere out there" on this earth there was a community of sages who had all attained immortality -- living in conformity to the Dao in an unknown and distant forest.

    My speculations.

    Bunkslobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @johnathan said:
    The Pureland is not a place outside of yourself... the Buddha (Nembutsu) is not a call to anything but the Buddha Nature within... The Pureland and Buddha are always within us but obstructions hide them... remove the obstructions and you will be in the Pureland next to the Buddha.

    This makes a bit more sense, thanks @johnathan for filling in the blanks. Perhaps Pureland was a reaction to prayer-based religions becoming popular in Buddhist regions.

    lobster
  • opiumpoetryopiumpoetry Delaware, Ohio, USA Explorer

    @Kerome said:
    The one doubt I have in this area is about Pure Land Buddhism. Now this is all according to what I have heard and read, so take it with a grain of salt, I am not an authority on the streams of buddhism. Anyway It is very popular in China and it’s adherents believe that by reciting the nembutsu, the name of Amitabha Buddha, they cause him to come and save them at the moment of death and take them to his Pure Land in the afterlife. It’s seen as a substitute for enlightenment, as far as I can gather.

    I think Pure Land in China and Jodo Shu & Jodo Shinshu in Japan basically say that if you follow the core teachings of Buddhism to the best of your abilities, you'll attain Bodhi in time even if you are not able to meditate your way to it in this life. True, it's a kind of easy path but some people are just too busy to meditate and not everyone has the intellectual ability for it. Maybe it's a shortcut to salvation, but I'd say there's no reason to doubt the validity of their beliefs. I even prayed to Amida when my father passed on recently :'( . But yes, Pure Land does seem like an almost purely devotional sect akin to Christianity. I for one love the diversity of Mahayana/Vajrayana schools and their beliefs. Cheers!

    Shoshin
  • opiumpoetryopiumpoetry Delaware, Ohio, USA Explorer

    @johnathan said:

    I am inclined to agree. I have read that many Buddhist scholars believe that the 4 Noble Truths were inserted after the Buddha's death. Many people get turned off to Buddhism when they first hear of the 4 Noble Truths. Perhaps it's time to officially expunge them as 1. they are fundamentally not true; 2. they may not be part of the Buddha's actual teachings during his final lifetime on this earth; and 3. they turn people off to Buddhism and thus make it harder to enable all the world to achieve Bodhi.

    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

    Then you have no understanding of the 4 Noble Truths, is my personal opinion.
    They don't deny Hope in the slightest. That's completely the wrong end of the stick.

    First of all, let's determine what Hope is.
    It's Fuck-all confidence.
    You know when Pandora opened the Box of Tricks and released all the evils in one go?
    She slammed the lid shut, and managed to prevent Hope from escaping.
    But the Box didn't contain 'All the evils of the world, Except Hope, which wasn't evil'. It contained 'All the Evils of the world' full stop. So Hope is also an Evil.

    So Buddhism doesn't function on Hope, or Faith in the unseen.
    It functions on logic and discernment, it functions of cogitation and understanding.
    Hope has nothing to do with it.

    And if you don't understand that, then Good luck with changing the way Buddhism has functioned and flourished for 2,500 years...

    FrogpondDavid
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    1. Fundamentally untrue is no reason for something not to exist.

    For example an ego.

    1. Actual and skilful transcend life and death

    2. World domination? Not a club for everybody ...

      o:)

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited April 9

    ...Think about the first noble truth of "Dukkha" "Unsatifactoriness" ...it permeates every aspect of our lives... even in our search for the truth...Go figure ;) ;)

    Frogpondopiumpoetry
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I am inclined to agree.

    Me neither or rather I completely agree with your disagreement being dukkha ...
    Buddhism flawed? Of course ... it is dukkha ...

    Wait ... which of the 84 000 Buddha dharmas are we involved in again?

  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana are branches of Buddhism. From the beginning, there were variations based upon which sutras were the foundation of a specific school. it is the argument of the blind men and the elephant. The elephant remains an elephant as we know an elephant to be but the blind men each defines the elephant from the point to contact, the experience each has had with the elephant. Buddhism is Buddhism. However, each branch defines Buddhism from it's experience (sutras, traditions, etc).
    Each branch, each school of Buddhism has a commonality with every other branch or school of Buddhism. Though techniques, modalities, specifics of sutras, of traditions vary, even to the extreme, the various schools of Buddhism are just that - Schools of Buddhism. All trace back to and/or acknowledge the Historic Buddha, aka Sakyamuni, aka Gautama Sadartha aka The Buddha.

    Peace to all

    lobsterFrogpond
  • 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

    @opiumpoetry said: ... I am inclined to agree. I have read that many Buddhist scholars believe that the 4 Noble Truths were inserted after the Buddha's death....

    Ok, first of all, if you have read "that many Buddhist scholars believe", please cite sources and provide references, because to brutally honest, I have been doing this stuff for 25 years, and this is the first I have heard of it.

    Many people get turned off to Buddhism when they first hear of the 4 Noble Truths. Perhaps it's time to officially expunge them as 1. they are fundamentally not true;

    Please explain and clarify how you have come to this conclusion for yourself.

    1. they may not be part of the Buddha's actual teachings during his final lifetime on this earth;

    Where has this been stated?

    they turn people off to Buddhism and thus make it harder to enable all the world to achieve Bodhi.

    That's a massive gap isn't it? Between "turning people off' and 'achieving Bodhi'..? Isn't there a period of study, learning, understanding, investigation, comprehension, absorption, meditation, questioning, reading, PRACTISING, in between?

    Do you understand the term 'Noble'?

    Are you truly so experienced in the teachings and wisdom of Buddhism that you feel sufficiently educated to be able to dismiss the 4 Noble Truths so arrogantly, or is it simply too much like hard work to actually study them in depth?

    Start by reading, digesting and absorbing the teaching of the Kalama Sutta... Always a good place to kick off from...

    VimalajātiFrogpond
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I believe it just comes down to how you phrase the 4NTs. If you say the first truth is, life is suffering, I think you will get a lot more negative reactions than if you say, there is unhappiness. The first way of stating it makes a bold claim that a lot of people will not agree with, while the second is unarguably true.

    The thing is, the Buddha attached great importance to this feeling of unhappiness and set out to eradicate it, while most people in the developed world (in my experience) see life as a mixture of good and bad, with the good to be enjoyed and the bad to be endured. That takes a little while to get used to.

    opiumpoetry
  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited April 10

    @opiumpoetry said:
    Would anyone agree that Theravada, Mahayana, [and] Vajrayana [...] are actually 4 different religions rather than just one?

    I edited the above to remove "Navayāna" from the proposal. I would agree and disagree, depending on how you were spinning it. They are different in the sense that they are generally different communities with differing narratives about each other. Mahāyānikas (which is to say, "Mahayanists") have narratives about the path that are absent from Theravāda, such as the narrative that the fruits of samyaksaṁbodhi (complete gnosis) are the fruits of three major aeons of bodhisattvayāna practice. In turn, Vajrayānikas have extraordinary claims concerning their ordinations (empowerments) and the ability of these to fast-track people on the path to highest gnosis that seem incredulous to someone schooled in what Vajrayānikas call "common Mahāyāna."

    There was a tantric transmission established in Japan among the Tendai, Shingon, and Kegon schools (possibly the Hossō as well) which had a practice based on the framework of a non-duality between two maṇḍala depictions of Vairocana enthroned. This tantra was supposedly the highest teaching of the Buddhas, the blueprints for "[complete] Buddhahood in this [very] body" (即身佛) without three aeons of practice of the perfections.

    Eventually down the line, these Japanese Tantrikas met Tantrikas from Tibet with a latter and more elaborated system of tantras and classifications. In the newer Tibetan classification system, the Shingon/Tendai practices were "lower tantras," or absent from schemata entirely. Grandiose claims of Buddhahood in this very body, for the Tibetans, was associated with Anuttarayogatantra. This classification, "Anuttarayogatantra," is of course a Tibetan scholastic invention. The Japanese couldn't have possibly been expected to have received it from India by way of China, because it didn't even exist yet, and never existed in India in the first place.

    When receiving his first holy vision, the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith said that his holy interlocutor expressed to him that all Christian creeds were an abomination in the sight of God, that Joseph Smith was to communicate a definitive and corrective addendum to them in the form of his new scriptures. Some Protestant Christians believe in a "Great Apostasy," a staple of sectarian myth-making, which narrates that at some vague and poorly-established point in time, the Catholic Church apostatized from the teachings of Jesus by incorporating Pagan Roman elements. Of course, which elements precisely stem from Roman Paganism are generally poorly-established and exactly when this apostasy occurred is vague to suit the needs of the sectarian myth-maker telling you about the apostasy. Maybe they hate Constantine and think he incorporated the Paganism. Maybe they go all the way back to painting Saint Paul as the arch-apostate.

    Do these divergent narratives mean that Mormonism isn't Christianity, or that Protestantism and Catholicism are not the same religion?

    Does the fact that some Tibetan and Japanese Buddhists disagree as to the superior method of cultivating Buddhahood in this very body mean that they practice different religions? They are certainly believing different things.

    And yet they have so much in common, and clearly draw from the same sources. Protestants and Catholics read the same church fathers generally. Mormons and mainstream Christians believe in the same Old and New Testaments, generally speaking. Vajrayānikas and Mahāyānikas read many of the same sūtras, although sometimes with wildly differing hermeneutics. Mahāyānikas and Theravādins practice the same six perfections, albeit in different presentations (ten vs six). All of these groups have divergent narratives about each other and about where they fit in relation to each other.

    We say that Christians and Jews are of different religions despite them having an extraordinary number of elements in common and springing from the same milieu. The same with these two and Islam. Christianity added scriptures, and that seemed to be enough to make them a new religion. Islam negated the authority of past religious texts (the ʾInjīl, the Zabūr, the Tawrat), also adding a new book, the Qurʼān, and that seemed enough to make them a new religion. Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna alike both have additional scripture not shared in-common with other Buddhist traditions and each tradition of Buddhism contains within it at least some points of controversy that negate teachings in the other traditions. It seems there is precedent to think of all of them as different, in the sense that we think of Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and precedent to think of them as the same, in the sense that we think of Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, mainline Protestantism, Evangelicalism, Pentecostalism, and Mormonism.

    Starting from beginning to the first utterances, a Theravāda sutta might start off

    Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Then, late at night, a glorious deity, lighting up the entire Jeta’s Grove, went up to the Buddha, bowed, stood to one side, and said to him [...]

    (SN 1.1 Oghataraṇasutta)

    A Mahāyāna sūtra might start off

    Thus have I heard. Śākyamuni Buddha resided within the fourth dhyāna in the heavenly mansion of Maheśvara Devarāja in the company of the limitless host of Mahābrahmā Devarājas of the heavens and with an incredibly multitudinous host of bodhisattvas. Coming out of deep dhyāna, the Lord spoke of the Sermon of the Lotus Vault, the Sermon of the Womb of the World-Systems. He spoke of the sermon which Vairocana Buddha spoke: the Sermon of the Dharma Gate of the Mind-Ground. Then from Śākyamuni Buddha's body radiated a luminous wisdom, which brightened in the minds of the assembly the celestial palace of the heavens and on high, ascending to the Lotus Vault, to the Womb of the World-Systems, where they witnessed Vairocana Buddha enthroned with one million lotus blossoms in a bright brilliant constellation around him. Śākyamuni Buddha spoke: [...]

    (T1484.997b12 Vairocanabhāṣitacittabhūmidharmamukhasūtra)

    A Vajrayāna scripture might start off

    Thus have I heard. At one time, the Bhagavān was residing in the vast adamantine palace of the Dharma realm empowered by Tathāgatas, in which all the vajra-wielders had all assembled; the great pavilion, the king of jewels, born of the Tathāgata’s faith, understanding, play, and supernatural transformations, was lofty, without a centre or perimeter, and was variously adorned with great and wondrous king-of-jewels, and the body of a bodhisattva formed the lion throne. [...]. Accompanied by a multitude of vajra-wielders equal in number to the dust motes of ten buddha fields with these at their head, and surrounded in front and behind by great bodhisattvas such as the bodhisattva Samantabhadra, the bodhisattva Maitreya, the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī, and the bodhisattva Sarvanīvaraṇaviṣkambhin, the Bhagavān expounded the Dharma, namely, the Dharma gateway of the state of the equality of body, speech, and mind, through the empowerment of the Tathāgata’s sun which transcends the three times. Then, with the bodhisattvas headed by Samantabhadra and the vajra-wielders headed by the Lord of Mysteries, through the empowerment of the Tathāgata Vairocana there was swiftly made manifest the inexhaustible treasury of adornments of the body; likewise, there were swiftly made manifest the inexhaustible treasuries of adornments of the equality of speech and mind. These were not produced by the body or speech or mind of the Buddha Vairocana, and the limits of their arising and disappearing in all places cannot be apprehended. Yet all the actions of Vairocana’s body, all the actions of his speech, and all the actions of his mind proclaim everywhere and always in the realms of sentient beings the Dharma of the words of the mantra path. Moreover, he assumed the appearance of vajra-wielders and the bodhisattvas Samantabhadra, Padmapāṇi, and so on, and proclaimed everywhere in the ten directions the Dharma of the pure words of the mantra path so that all the steps from the initial generation of bodhicitta up to the ten stages may be progressively satisfied in this lifetime, the seeds of the karmically determined lives of the varieties of sentient beings who have been born and nurtured by karma may be eradicated, and there may also occur the sprouting of wholesome seeds. Then the vajra-wielder Lord of Mysteries, who was seated in this assembly, said to the Buddha, [...]

    (T848.1a9 Vairocanābhisaṁbodhivikurvitādhiṣṭānavaipulyasūtra)

    Every Buddhist sect teaches that it has the highest and most definitive truth. It's almost as if there's a bunch of know-it-alls interested in Buddhadharma or something. :# o:)

    johnathanlobsterSuraShine
  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited April 10

    Another point related to the tricky business of classifying religions, sects, traditions, and lineages: according to most Hindus, all of us here are practicing in a nāstika school of Hinduism, namely Buddhism.

    lobsterRen_in_black
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran
    edited April 10

    @Vimalajāti
    As to your first post... it would seem that for a "religion" based on letting go of the ego, there seems to be plenty of ego to go around for all branches and denominations of Buddhism.

    VimalajātiRen_in_blackopiumpoetry
  • FrogpondFrogpond California Explorer

    As somebody very new to buddhism, I find the 4 noble truths very uplifting. There is suffering, there is a cause of suffering, there is an end to suffering.... And even better, there is a path that leads to the end of suffering.
    Personally I find this very uplifting and practical.
    I need to learn about the eightfold path and start practicing it!

    lobsterShoshinDavidfederica
  • 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

    The other thing to remember, @opiumpoetry, is that the word Suffering, in English, means something with entirely negative connotations.

    However, it has been clarified many times that the translation of the word Dukkha' is NOT merely or simply, 'suffering'. In fact. that interpretation of the word is completely inaccurate.

    Dukkha is better translated by the use of different terms, all really meaning similar things: Stress, Up and down, changeable, unpredictable, variable, 'swings and roundabouts', contrary... The word Dukkha has its etymological roots and the same origin as a Pali word denoting a warped or wonky axle; the ride is never smooth, and depending on the terrain, it's either gently undulating or extremely unsettling.
    So forget the term Suffering'. It's not a good fit, and shouldn't be taken as a good interpretation, translation or meaning.
    If only Ambedkar had studied more closely, he wouldn't have come to such an outrageously distorted conclusion.

    opiumpoetry
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    One Zen teacher I respected used the 4 seals to ascertain whether a teaching could be considered to be a Buddhist Dharma or not.

    If a teaching supported that.....
    *Everything conditioned is impermanent.
    *Existence is inherently disconcerting.
    *All things are empty and selfless.
    *Nirvana transcends definition.

    then it was simply Buddhist, without being divided off as differing religions.

    Shoshinlobster
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @opiumpoetry said:

    I think Pure Land in China and Jodo Shu & Jodo Shinshu in Japan basically say that if you follow the core teachings of Buddhism to the best of your abilities, you'll attain Bodhi in time even if you are not able to meditate your way to it in this life. True, it's a kind of easy path but some people are just too busy to meditate and not everyone has the intellectual ability for it.

    Sorry but everyone has the time to meditate (15 minutes a day!) and I'd hardly call sitting for a few minutes watching the breath going in and out an intellectual pursuit haha!!

    Davidlobsteropiumpoetry
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited April 11

    @opiumpoetry said:

    I am inclined to agree. I have read that many Buddhist scholars believe that the 4 Noble Truths were inserted after the Buddha's death. Many people get turned off to Buddhism when they first hear of the 4 Noble Truths. Perhaps it's time to officially expunge them as 1. they are fundamentally not true; 2. they may not be part of the Buddha's actual teachings during his final lifetime on this earth; and 3. they turn people off to Buddhism and thus make it harder to enable all the world to achieve Bodhi.

    Something to ponder....when it comes to journeying along the path ....

    Faith & Doubt

    "Great Faith and Great Doubt are two ends of a spiritual walking stick. We grip one end with the grasp given to us by our Great Determination. We poke into the underbrush in the dark on our spiritual journey. This act is real spiritual practice—gripping the Faith end and poking ahead with the Doubt end of the stick. If we have no Faith, we have no Doubt. If we have no Determination, we never pick up the stick in the first place."

    ~Sensei Sevan Ross~

    May you be well @opiumpoetry

    lobsterjohnathan
  • SuraShineSuraShine South Australia Explorer

    I like the way Lama Surya Das defines dukkha in "Awakening The Buddha Within - he defines it as "dissatisfaction" - I find that very relevant given the current isolation situation we're experiencing....

    federicaopiumpoetry
  • 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
    edited April 14

    @Frogpond said:
    As somebody very new to buddhism, I find the 4 noble truths very uplifting. There is suffering, there is a cause of suffering, there is an end to suffering.... And even better, there is a path that leads to the end of suffering.
    Personally I find this very uplifting and practical.
    I need to learn about the eightfold path and start practicing it!

    Ah dearest @Frogpond I well remember being where you are now! The 4 Noble Truths and the 8Fold Path are the very first and simplest lessons the Buddha gave us.. And I then discovered, as have so many others, that 'Simple' doesn't mean 'Easy'...!

    The 4 and the 8 are quite easy to understand, but they're such a comprehensive, detailed and multi-faceted set of teachings., that in-depth study could well take a lifetime, and it will take you on many adventures, paths and explorations, which at time may seem bewildering, complex and even contradictory.
    The thing to remember, whenever you feel your brain has been turned into scrambled egg with bagel on the side, is to STOP.
    Sit. Breathe, and let it all go.

    Simplify.

    There IS no compunction or obligation to know it all, and to know it all at once.
    The phrase "I don't know" is the most marvellous one in the English language, but saying it should feel refreshing, not guilt-laden.

    Enjoy your trip. You walk along with others anyway, so never miss the chance for a back-and-forth chat, with those who walk alongside you.

    (And avoid fly-by-night charlatans setting themselves up as all-knowing Gurus with a Tradition of their own that's been in existence for 5 minutes but claims to have all the answers. That's just Bullshit. ;) )

    lobsterBunksWalkerFrogpond
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    I think this poem the Sandokai deals with the topic in this thread. It is an important piece in Soto Zen:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandokai

    ** Identity of Relative and Absolute**

    The mind of the Great Sage of India was intimately
    conveyed from west to east.

    Among human beings are wise ones and fools,

    But in the Way there is no northern or southern Patriarch.

    The subtle source is clear and bright; the tributary

    streams flow through the darkness.

    To be attached to things is illusion;

    To encounter the absolute is not yet enlightenment.

    Each and all, the subjective and objective spheres are related,

    and at the same time, independent.

    Related, yet working differently, though each keeps its own place.

    Form makes the character and appearance different;

    Sounds distinguish comfort and discomfort.

    The dark makes all words one; the brightness distinguishes good and bad phrases.

    The four elements return to their nature as a child to its mother.

    Fire is hot, wind moves, water is wet, earth hard.

    Eyes see, ears hear, nose smells, tongue tastes the salt and sour.

    Each is independent of the other; cause and effect must return to the great reality

    Like leaves that come from the same root.

    The words high and low are used relatively.

    Within light there is darkness, but do not try to understand that darkness;

    Within darkness there is light, but do not look for that light.

    Light and darkness are a pair, like the foot before

    and the foot behind, in walking. Each thing has its own intrinsic value

    and is related to everything else in function and position.

    Ordinary life fits the absolute as a box and its lid.

    The absolute works together with the relative like two arrows meeting in mid-air.

    Reading words you should grasp the great reality. Do not judge by any standards.

    If you do not see the Way, you do not see it even as you walk on it.

    When you walk the Way, it is not near, it is not far.

    If you are deluded, you are mountains and rivers away from it.

    I respectfully say to those who wish to be enlightened:

    Do not waste your time by night or day.

    lobsterDavid
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Thanks @Jeffrey <3

    As an un-Buddhist or [insert preferred but irrelevant name culling and calling] undead, I find being unschooled an education.

    We pass through like dust in the wind but so many swirl aimlessly until they no longer miss or mrs.

    To put it another way, order is not certain. It is merely the mountain undusted ...

    @Vimalajāti said:
    Another point related to the tricky business of classifying religions, sects, traditions, and lineages: according to most Hindus, all of us here are practicing in a nāstika school of Hinduism, namely Buddhism.

    Tee Hee.
    Harry Krishna. Harry, Harry. Harry Ram A. Rum Nah, Rama, Hari Hari.

    iz I Hinduish now?

  • FrogpondFrogpond California Explorer

    @federica said:

    @Frogpond said:
    As somebody very new to buddhism, I find the 4 noble truths very uplifting. There is suffering, there is a cause of suffering, there is an end to suffering.... And even better, there is a path that leads to the end of suffering.
    Personally I find this very uplifting and practical.
    I need to learn about the eightfold path and start practicing it!

    Ah dearest @Frogpond I well remember being where you are now! The 4 Noble Truths and the 8Fold Path are the very first and simplest lessons the Buddha gave us.. And I then discovered, as have so many others, that 'Simple' doesn't mean 'Easy'...!

    The 4 and the 8 are quite easy to understand, but they're such a comprehensive, detailed and multi-faceted set of teachings., that in-depth study could well take a lifetime, and it will take you on many adventures, paths and explorations, which at time may seem bewildering, complex and even contradictory.
    The thing to remember, whenever you feel your brain has been turned into scrambled egg with bagel on the side, is to STOP.
    Sit. Breathe, and let it all go.

    Simplify.

    There IS no compunction or obligation to know it all, and to know it all at once.
    The phrase "I don't know" is the most marvellous one in the English language, but saying it should feel refreshing, not guilt-laden.

    Enjoy your trip. You walk along with others anyway, so never miss the chance for a back-and-forth chat, with those who walk alongside you.

    (And avoid fly-by-night charlatans setting themselves up as all-knowing Gurus with a Tradition of their own that's been in existence for 5 minutes but claims to have all the answers. That's just Bullshit. ;) )

    Thank you so much @federica. I really appreciate it. I like the idea of simplifying and not feeling the pressure to become versed in it all (which as you say could take a lifetime). 🙏🙏👍👍

    federicalobsterBunks
  • opiumpoetryopiumpoetry Delaware, Ohio, USA Explorer

    @Shoshin said:
    ...Think about the first noble truth of "Dukkha" "Unsatifactoriness" ...it permeates every aspect of our lives... even in our search for the truth...Go figure ;) ;)

    Yes, I agree that the translation of that word into English as "suffering" is problematic. I also prefer to translate it as "unhappiness," which certainly has a lighter connotation.

  • opiumpoetryopiumpoetry Delaware, Ohio, USA Explorer

    @federica said:
    Then you have no understanding of the 4 Noble Truths, is my personal opinion.
    They don't deny Hope in the slightest. That's completely the wrong end of the stick.

    First of all, let's determine what Hope is.
    It's Fuck-all confidence.
    You know when Pandora opened the Box of Tricks and released all the evils in one go?
    She slammed the lid shut, and managed to prevent Hope from escaping.
    But the Box didn't contain 'All the evils of the world, Except Hope, which wasn't evil'. It contained 'All the Evils of the world' full stop. So Hope is also an Evil.

    So Buddhism doesn't function on Hope, or Faith in the unseen.
    It functions on logic and discernment, it functions of cogitation and understanding.
    Hope has nothing to do with it.

    And if you don't understand that, then Good luck with changing the way Buddhism has functioned and flourished for 2,500 years...

    So are you simply dismissing Ambedkar and Navayana?

  • opiumpoetryopiumpoetry Delaware, Ohio, USA Explorer

    @federica said:

    @opiumpoetry said: ... I am inclined to agree. I have read that many Buddhist scholars believe that the 4 Noble Truths were inserted after the Buddha's death....

    Ok, first of all, if you have read "that many Buddhist scholars believe", please cite sources and provide references, because to brutally honest, I have been doing this stuff for 25 years, and this is the first I have heard of it.

    they may not be part of the Buddha's actual teachings during his final lifetime on this earth;

    Where has this been stated?

    Are you truly so experienced in the teachings and wisdom of Buddhism that you feel sufficiently educated to be able to dismiss the 4 Noble Truths so arrogantly, or is it simply too much like hard work to actually study them in depth?

    Start by reading, digesting and absorbing the teaching of the Kalama Sutta... Always a good place to kick off from...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalit_Buddhist_movement#Navayana_Buddhism
    "According to Ambedkar, several of the core beliefs and doctrines of traditional Buddhist traditions such as the Four Noble Truths and Anatta were flawed and pessimistic, and may have been inserted into the Buddhist scriptures by wrong headed Buddhist monks of a later era. These should not be considered as Buddha's teachings in Ambedkar's view."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths#Development
    "According to Anderson, 'The four noble truths were probably not part of the earliest strata of what came to be recognized as Buddhism, but [...] emerged as a central teaching in a slightly later period that still preceded the final redactions of the various Buddhist canons.' "

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths#Western_Buddhism
    "According to Lamb, 'Certain forms of modern western Buddhism [...] see it as purely mythical and thus a dispensable notion.' "

  • opiumpoetryopiumpoetry Delaware, Ohio, USA Explorer

    @Bunks said:

    @opiumpoetry said:

    I think Pure Land in China and Jodo Shu & Jodo Shinshu in Japan basically say that if you follow the core teachings of Buddhism to the best of your abilities, you'll attain Bodhi in time even if you are not able to meditate your way to it in this life. True, it's a kind of easy path but some people are just too busy to meditate and not everyone has the intellectual ability for it.

    Sorry but everyone has the time to meditate (15 minutes a day!) and I'd hardly call sitting for a few minutes watching the breath going in and out an intellectual pursuit haha!!

    True. HAHA! But in this world where people are used to constant external stimuli, even turning the TV off for 15 minutes seems like a trek into another dimension! :)

  • opiumpoetryopiumpoetry Delaware, Ohio, USA Explorer

    @federica said:
    The other thing to remember, @opiumpoetry, is that the word Suffering, in English, means something with entirely negative connotations.

    However, it has been clarified many times that the translation of the word Dukkha' is NOT merely or simply, 'suffering'. In fact. that interpretation of the word is completely inaccurate.

    Dukkha is better translated by the use of different terms, all really meaning similar things: Stress, Up and down, changeable, unpredictable, variable, 'swings and roundabouts', contrary... The word Dukkha has its etymological roots and the same origin as a Pali word denoting a warped or wonky axle; the ride is never smooth, and depending on the terrain, it's either gently undulating or extremely unsettling.
    So forget the term Suffering'. It's not a good fit, and shouldn't be taken as a good interpretation, translation or meaning.
    If only Ambedkar had studied more closely, he wouldn't have come to such an outrageously distorted conclusion.

    I certainly agree that a more accurate translation for "dukkha" would be "unhappiness." But I think it's wrong to simply dismiss Navayana as a heresy, which is definitely how I get your drift. Is it possible for ALL of the 4 different branches of Buddhism to be equally right on 75% of all metaphysical matters and thus all be equally valid?

  • opiumpoetryopiumpoetry Delaware, Ohio, USA Explorer

    @Kerome said:
    I believe it just comes down to how you phrase the 4NTs. If you say the first truth is, life is suffering, I think you will get a lot more negative reactions than if you say, there is unhappiness. The first way of stating it makes a bold claim that a lot of people will not agree with, while the second is unarguably true.

    The thing is, the Buddha attached great importance to this feeling of unhappiness and set out to eradicate it, while most people in the developed world (in my experience) see life as a mixture of good and bad, with the good to be enjoyed and the bad to be endured. That takes a little while to get used to.

    I totally agree. I once tried to correct a webpage (it may have been on Wikipedia) for it to say "unhappiness" instead of "suffering," and someone changed it back. I think the account that did it had a Thai name, as far as I can remember, so I just took it for granted that he knew more than I did. I'm starting to wonder if Western Buddhists reinterpreting Buddhism may indeed be liberating it from the shackles of Eastern dogma.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited June 6

    @opiumpoetry said:
    I'm starting to wonder if Western Buddhists reinterpreting Buddhism may indeed be liberating it from the shackles of Eastern dogma.

    Perhaps they are. I certainly think it will give a new impetus to buddhism, finding new forms that are suitable to western practitioners.

    Alex
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @opiumpoetry said:

    @Kerome said:
    I believe it just comes down to how you phrase the 4NTs. If you say the first truth is, life is suffering, I think you will get a lot more negative reactions than if you say, there is unhappiness. The first way of stating it makes a bold claim that a lot of people will not agree with, while the second is unarguably true.

    The thing is, the Buddha attached great importance to this feeling of unhappiness and set out to eradicate it, while most people in the developed world (in my experience) see life as a mixture of good and bad, with the good to be enjoyed and the bad to be endured. That takes a little while to get used to.

    I totally agree. I once tried to correct a webpage (it may have been on Wikipedia) for it to say "unhappiness" instead of "suffering," and someone changed it back. I think the account that did it had a Thai name, as far as I can remember, so I just took it for granted that he knew more than I did. I'm starting to wonder if Western Buddhists reinterpreting Buddhism may indeed be liberating it from the shackles of Eastern dogma.

    Perhaps. Just be careful not to fall into the trap of western chauvinism and thinking that western knowledge is always superior to eastern knowledge and that the west can interpret eastern ideas and concepts better than they themselves can.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited June 6

    Buddhism's success in spreading is a textbook example of spiritual terraforming, where each new formation leaves in its wake, its predecessors questioning the validity of yet another expression of a fluidic perfection.

    lobsterKerome
  • Rob_VRob_V North Carolina Explorer

    Legend has it that the sage known colloquially as "Jesus" once said, "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other." I think that when you introduce politics into the practice you forfeit Buddha Dhamma in lieu of mental formations and/or collectivism. How can one remain dispassionate and non-reactive if one gets all fired up about the friction of the day?

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