Author Topic: original Buddhism?  (Read 5478 times)

Ensapa

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original Buddhism?
« on: June 25, 2012, 08:19:32 AM »
Recently, I have come across with a family friend, a mahayana nun who has gotten involved with a new buddhist movement I find....odd. This movement claims that many of the sutras found in the Chinese Buddhist cannon are add ons written by masters and only a few of them are the original teachings of Lord Buddha. They claim that the Buddha never thought about Bodhicitta, the perfections and he only thought us the way to achieve the end of suffering and therefore commentaries by the other saints such as Nagajurna are not helpful and are too deep etc. Of the pitakas, they believe that the Abhidharma portion of the tripitaka is not what the Buddha has originally taught and therefore not useful. This society claims to have extracted the pure teachings of the Buddha and have been propagating that ideology since and they have garnered many disciples.

This is the website: http://www.arahant.org/

To me, this sounds odd on so many levels. First of all, if the historical Buddha's teachings would still bring us to enlightenment, why were we not enlightened? If the Buddha's words and his pure teachings can bring us to enlightenment, why is the founder not enlightened yet? Secondly, by denying that the Buddha taught about the parimitas and bodhicitta, it would have the same effect as saying that mahayana is an invalid lineage. Thirdly, by declaring that masters like Nagajurna's teachings are invalid as they were not spoken by the historical buddha, this essentially means that there are no results if we practice the Buddha's teaching after his death. I find these kinds of movements very disturbing and they are very effective in spreading misinformation about the Dharma as well causing damage to the minds of other Buddhists by spreading the idea that the Buddha never taught about certain teachings and that the buddhist cannon is impure and only certain teachings are 'pure'.

What do you guys think?

vajratruth

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Re: original Buddhism?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 12:29:50 PM »
The Abhidharma pitaka is the portion of the teachings that contains commentaries and analyses of the various sutras.

There are some who claim that Buddha did not originally teach this special basket of teachings. However, it is also widely accepted by Buddhist scholars that the Buddha spent the first few days after his enlightenment formulating the nucleus of the Abhidharma-pitaka. Seven years later the Buddha taught these teachings to the Third Buddhist Council who consisted of devas or gods. The only human who heard it was the Buddha’s disciple Shariputra. Given the genius and profundity of the Abhidharma, clearly only the Buddha himself could have formulated it.

To claim that it is not useful to study the Abhidharma pitaka is a grave mistake. On the contrary it is accepted as the most important of the three pitakas because it contains the profound philosophy of the Buddha’s teaching in contrast to the simpler discourses in the  Sutta Pitaka. Abhidhamma, the Higher Doctrine of the Buddha, teaches the deeper essence of the Buddha’s profound teachings.

And it is absolutely ridiculous to claim that the Buddha never taught about Bodhicitta.  Bodhicitta may be divided into Aspiring Bodhicitta which is practiced by meditating on the great Four Immeasurables of Equanimity, Love, Compassion and Joy; and Application Bodhicitta is practiced by putting into action the Six Paramitas which are the perfection of generosity, the perfection of ethics, the perfection of patience, the perfection of joyous effort, the perfection of concentration and the perfection of wisdom.

Both the Four Immeasurables and the Six Perfections are at the heart of the Buddha’s teachings. In 16 English sentences and 262 Chinese Characters, the Heart Sutra, which is at the core of the Six Paramitas, is the summation of the Buddha’s wisdom.

How sad that some cannot see that.

Big Uncle

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Re: original Buddhism?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2012, 05:23:53 PM »
Well, that's tantamount to saying that all the Bodhisattvas, Lamas, Mahasiddhas and great Yogis are all wrong. How can that be since, each have a recognized lineage and each have developed clear signs of spiritual accomplishments.

The Buddha taught 84,000 teachings and I am sure not all of them were taught in the earlier scriptures. Some were even kept in other worlds and rediscovered later by saints like Nagarjuna. This may seem fantastic and such teachings would initially be beyond our comprehension but that does not mean that they do not belong to the Buddha's own words. I find that incredible. How can one just denounced everything based on one's lack of comprehension of the teachings.

That would mean they reject the Mahayana, Vajrayana and some elements of the Theravaden simply because clarifications came later. That's one of the misconceptions that commentaries, teachings and later development of Buddhism were fabricated by later Buddhists. In the Mahayana, one would break the vow of the Bodhisattva if we reject any Buddhist teaching. This can be likened to the Dalai Lama saying Dorje Shugden is an evil spirit and that his esteemed master were all mistaken.



Ensapa

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Re: original Buddhism?
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2012, 07:58:18 AM »
Big uncle, this organization was founded on the basis and assumption that the texts found in the canons of the theravardan, mahayana and vajrayana traditions were corrupted and tainted with self interpretations, as well as false sutras and commentaries interwoven into the texts. In doing so, they do assert that the Bodhisattvas, Lamas, Mahasiddhas and great Yogis are all wrong and are not enlightened as it was not what the Buddha taught. These are some of the ideas that this movement teaches. There is a category of people that Robert Thurman and Alexander Berzin describe as Buddhologists, people who are obsessed with the Buddha and not his actual teachings. They are more than often not obsessed with the "purity" of the teachings and are extremely skeptical of everything. They are very obsessed about whether or not a particular text was taught before by the historical Buddha and that some texts cannot have been taught by the Buddha because of its style or because of the context within it, i.e 'superstitious' elements and are therefore fabrications of people masters who appeared after the Buddha's time. As to answering Vajratruth's question, yes, they reject the whole cycle of prajnaparimita and tathagatagarbha sutras, claiming that those were not the original teachings of the Buddha and that they were fabrications by later masters who added in their own sutras and interpretations, so they do not accept the diamond sutra as a valid sutra.

This is their philosophy and core teachings: http://www.arahant-usa.org/English/index.html

What I do find odd and perplexing is, why are these people so insecure and so narrow minded to the point where they would need the "original" teachings of the Buddha? What else can it be that would make a person think that they want the purest of the pure teachings, the actual spoken words of the Buddha and reject anything else that does not subscribe to the certain style or philosophy that they assume to be what the Buddha taught? So the Buddha must teach according to their way and their narrow interpretation? Secondly, how would they know what is original and what is not? Are they the Buddha? Even information from historical contexts can be tainted or wrong as people will always interpret history the way they like it. Since history can be written and re-written, and the sutras can be interpreted in many ways depending on the level of those who heard it, how can such a comparison bring about the "authentic" and "untainted" teachings of the Buddha? What is wrong with the explanations of the great masters? Why is there an obsession with the actual words that the Buddha said, if the "diluted" teachings can bring about enlightenment equally as well?

In actual effect, this movement only holds to sutras found within the Chinese translated Samyukta-?gama of Ananda lineage and in the Therav?din P?li Samyutta-Nik?ya of Upali lineage and reject everything else. To me that is pretty narrow. This  movement is actually gaining momentum as they assert that the Buddha only taught us the path of cessation of suffering and nothing else. But that is not true as the Buddha have taught many teachings over 45 years and if the Buddha has infinite wisdom, why would anyone want to restrain that wisdom to such a small scope? If due to our lack of understanding and due to our ignorance we are afraid to explore the writings of other sages and masters, why would we invalidate them rather than investigate their teachings? Most of the teachings propagated in this movement are very scholarly in nature. Personally, I find that it is movements and mentalities like this that will destroy Buddhism as the Buddha himself has said:

Quote
"Monks, these two slander the Tathagata. Which two? He who explains a discourse whose meaning needs to be inferred as one whose meaning has already been fully drawn out. And he who explains a discourse whose meaning has already been fully drawn out as one whose meaning needs to be inferred..."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.022.than.html

If the two supreme and six ornaments are guilty of this, it would mean that there are no attained masters of this time and age but this is not true, so it means that their methods are not wrong. If this movement is guilty of this, people who emerge from this movement will be very confused individuals who in turn confuse others.

vajrastorm

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Re: original Buddhism?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2012, 12:30:03 PM »
Was the Mahayana aspect of Buddhism taught by Lord Buddha? The Mahayana teachings include the development of Bodhicitta and the Six Perfections, which are Generosity(Giving), Moral Discipline, Patience, Joyous Effort, Concentration and Wisdom.   

The Dalai Lama, in his book 'Essence of the Heart Sutra', tells us that the Mahayana scriptures were taught by Lord Buddha and has an unbroken transmission all the way from Lord Buddha.First, "it is said" (p.47) that it was through Bodhisattvas, like Manjushri and Maitreya, that the Mahayana teachings were passed from Lord Buddha to Nargajuna and Asanga.(In the Lamrim, it is stated that the teachings of Lord Buddha were divided into two 'lineages' - the Vast and the Profound Lineages. The vast Lineage was passed through Maitreya to Asanga; the profound Lineage was passed through Manjushri to Nargajuna).

The Dalai Lama also explains that the teachings could have been given by Lord Buddha "on a plane transcending our conventional understanding of time and space".After all, we are given to understand that Buddha transmitted His teachings in diverse ways to suit the diverse attitudes, inclinations and capacities of individuals.So He would probably have taught the Mahayana scriptures to a few individuals whom He regarded as "most suitable to receive those teachings".