Author Topic: Buddha chose Hinduism as "wrong path" to teach us a lesson?  (Read 16596 times)

Robert Thomas

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Re: Buddha chose Hinduism as "wrong path" to teach us a lesson?
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2010, 10:18:38 PM »
Unrelated to the arguments in this thread, but valuable nontheless, Trijang Rinpoche teaching on the difference between Buddhist and Hindu Tantra.

http://www.fpmt.org/Teachings/more/tantra_trijang.asp

Lee Dhi

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Re: Buddha chose Hinduism as "wrong path" to teach us a lesson?
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2010, 03:35:22 AM »
[Apologies for the long silence, have been trapped in samsaric chaos last week :( ]

Dear Middleway,

Thanks for your suggestion to read the thread 'Are the Buddhas, DalaiLama & Dorje Shugden insane? Or is it divine crazy wisdom?'.  I am sure I will learn a lot as always from this forum ?

Dear Emptymountains,
Thanks for the link! I certainly gained new understanding about respecting each religion and developed an awareness of their distinction. After reading the content, I also agree that once we found the path that best fits us, we should “keep our own” (without disrespecting other religions off course!)

I am also grateful that we all still have the blessings of the Dharma during these times and appreciate the kindness of genuine sharing in the forum!

Zhalmed Pawo

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Re: Buddha chose Hinduism as "wrong path" to teach us a lesson?
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2010, 10:27:45 AM »

...without renounciation there is no samadhi, PERIOD!

All rishis (hindus) develop renunciation (from pleasures of the senses) in order to achieve samadhi. This much is common between our two paths.

Where we differ is in the application of samadhi, we use it in order to realise the emptiness of all phenomena. The rishis use it to achieve union with Brahma, which for them is Moksha (liberation).


Yes.

It is easy to misunderstand samadhi, or meditative concentration, to be some sort of mental compression or suppression, but it arises naturally when one lets go of the relative mental coarseness of a previous level. When one renounces the mind of sensual attachement, one achieves the frst form level absorption, and when one renounces the relative coarseness of that level, one proceed to the second, and so forth. And if one renounces both the desire realm mind and form realm mind, one proceeds to the formless absorptions.

Interestingly enough, the formless realm concentrations were part of Hindu teachings by the time of Buddha. The Bodhisattva himself learnt these from two teachers, Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputra. Alara taught him the ‘sphere of nothingness’, and Uddaka the ‘sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception’. Having mastered these, the Bodhisattva concluded that they do not bring liberation from dukkha, and he discarded them, and continued his search, and the most interesting is that form realm concentrations were Bodhisattva's own discoveries! He recalled how in his youth, he had spontaneously entered the first dhyana, or absorption, during the royal sowing ceremony (a Hindu practice itself, and still celebrated annually in Thailand by the Royal Court.) And it is precisely these form realm concentrations that helped him to find Liberation. Thy can bring both the mundane siddhis, and the ultimate siddhi!

It seems that one can enter the formless spheres directly from access samadhi, without ever finding the form level samadhis, as the two Hindu teachers knew only the formless spheres. After the Buddha of course, the Hindus have borrowed form sphere meditations into their religion.

There is nevertheless a curious Buddhist tradition, and many Sutras, reported by the Theravada tradition. It consists basically of first finding the faults of sensory attachements and renouncing them, whereby one enters the four form realm absorptions, after which one renounces them as relatively coarse as well, and proceeds to the four formless absorpions. And then, having in a sense come to know all the samsaric possibilities (kamadhatu, rupadhatu and arupadhatu, or realms of desire, form and formlessness) one sees that they all are transitory, of the nature of suffering, and not self, which leads one to renounce them all. In a sense, one has then transcended samsara, not being bound to it anymore. This attainment is called nirodha, cessation or rather extinction. This attainment is reported by many Sutras to be the liberation of Arhat. And my gut feeling says, that it is just this attainment, that is criticized by Mahayana sources as the "lesser enlightenment" of Sravakas. Because after all, has the root of samsara really been cut by this method? Isn't it more likely, that the practitoner attaining nirodha is, after death, just in a some kind of cosmic sleep, unconsciously present in a nether world, waiting for his mind to shook a bit through the force of karma? For at least the Mahayana doctrine says, that these Sravakas will after a loooong period of time be shaken and woken by the Bodhisattvas, after which they must start to practice more. Nirodha seems to be a sort of "half way house" for those who find the journey too tiresome.

It is hard to know exactly what is relly meant by this teaching of nirodha, because to my knowledge no one is teaching it nowadays. But there it nevertheless stands in the Sutras. Interesting is also, whether the Buddha really taught this as a "half way house" -teaching, or whether this is some misunderstanding of some later Teachers. (The fact that it is found in many Sutras does not prove it to be authentic, since many if not most Sutras of all school have been redacted a lot; the oral commentaries, whether correct or not, seem to have been incorporated to the texts they are commenting.)

emptymountains

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Re: Buddha chose Hinduism as "wrong path" to teach us a lesson?
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2010, 04:13:56 PM »
Emptymountains my friend,

What you say about samadhi is only partially correct, because without renounciation there is no samadhi, PERIOD!

All rishis (hindus) develop renunciation (from pleasures of the senses) in order to achieve samadhi. This much is common between our two paths.

Where we differ is in the application of samadhi, we use it in order to realise the emptiness of all phenomena. The rishis use it to achieve union with Brahma, which for them is Moksha (liberation).

 :)

The "liberation" attained in Hinduism, then, is not the same as in Buddhism, because they identify "samsara" differently than we do, and so they are not "renouncing" the same thing we are: renunciation of changing suffering (Skt. viparinama-duhkhata) is not the same as renunciation of pervasive suffering (Skt. samskara-duhkhata). I am basing this on the following:

Quote
There are many different types of concentration. There are two types of concentration from the point of view of their nature, mundane and supramundane. Mundane concentrations are motivated merely by mundane wishes such as the wish to attain clairvoyance and miracle powers, the wish to attain a rebirth in the god realms, or the wish to increase worldly happiness. Supramundane concentrations are motivated either by renunciation or bodhichitta. They are attained only by pure practitioners of Buddhadharma because only Buddhist scriptures contain correct and precise explanations of pervasive suffering, and we need to understand pervasive suffering in order to realize renunciation. If we know that our own appropriated aggregates are the very basis for all our suffering we shall make a strong decision to cut the continuum of our appropriated aggregates. This decision is necessary if we are to attain supramundane concentrations. Everyone knows manifest suffering and wants to be free from it. Some non-Buddhists also know changing suffering. They know that worldly happiness is changeable and has the nature of suffering, and so they meditate to attain a cessation of all pleasant and unpleasant feelings. However only Buddhists realize pervasive suffering. (Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Joyful Path of Good Fortune, p. 476)

The difference then only lies in twhat is meant by 'no intrinsic existence' and therfore what is meant by 'liberation' (freedom from samsara and cyclic existence which hindus also have in common with us).

It makes a world of difference. (pun intended!)  ;)
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 04:23:13 PM by emptymountains »

a friend

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Re: Buddha chose Hinduism as "wrong path" to teach us a lesson?
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2010, 09:41:11 PM »

I shouldn´t talk here because I´m not very knowledgeable. Still, I think to remember that the first stage of the Lamrim does not consist on having the small scope, the scope is from day one the supreme one, but we do share or have in common the first stage with the people of small scope: doing what is necessary not to fall in the lower realms. Same with the stage of personal liberation, it´s a stage that we share with the people of middling scope. But again, we have the ultimate scope from day one.
Another thing, I wouldn´t call the generosity, morality, effort and so forth that any person can practice whether in Hinduism or Christianity or Islam or even without a religion ... and heaven knows that a multitude of these people can be exceedingly excellent at those great virtues ... I wouldn´t call them in their case "six perfections". The paramitas are exclusive of the Bodhisattva path because the ultimate aim of the Bodhisattva is motivated by the decision of benefitting all sentient beings without exception and this is not the case elsewhere.


emptymountains

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Re: Buddha chose Hinduism as "wrong path" to teach us a lesson?
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2010, 07:17:20 AM »
Quote
Even Chandrakirti said that the paths (i.e., actions) leading to the higher realms are "wrong paths."

That would mean the "small scope" of the Lam Rim is a wrong path. :)

I can happily accept that consequence. Until we realize this, we do not develop renunciation for samsara. (Only then, you might say, does the initial scope become part of a correct path.) This point, I believe, is the thrust of the opening chapter of Mahamudra Tantra.

Zhalmed Pawo

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Re: Buddha chose Hinduism as "wrong path" to teach us a lesson?
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2010, 08:00:44 AM »

Still, I think to remember that the first stage of the Lamrim does not consist on having the small scope, the scope is from day one the supreme one, but we do share or have in common the first stage with the people of small scope: doing what is necessary not to fall in the lower realms. Same with the stage of personal liberation, it´s a stage that we share with the people of middling scope. But again, we have the ultimate scope from day one.

True, on the level of ideations, but not true, on the level of motivation.

As Lamrim is presented in the context of Mahayana-school, there is of course the implied sense that the whole thing aims at the mahayana-motivation, but at the start, this motivation is just a pure wish, a mere idea. In practice, the practitioner of the small scope is not even a Buddhist, since to be a Buddhist in the strict sense requires a real mind of Refuge, which is the outcome of the small scope practices.

The conceptual presentation of Lamrim is one thing, and the practical motivations of the practitioner another. All Lamrim teachings are Mahayana, but not all Lamrim-practitioners are even Buddhist.
__________

PS: It is easy to check one's own real motivation, ie one's real scope. Observe your daily activities, and check what is the motivation in general of those actions. Is the motivation of one's daily activities mainly what? Do they for the most part aim at:
- the happiness of this life (common small scope, ie "spiritual materialism" as Trungpa called it)
- the happiness of the next life (uncommon small scope, ie religiosity)
- the liberation from all suffering (middling scope, ie hinayana-motivation)
- the full enlightenment (great scope, ie mahayana-motivation)

This is why I like Lamrim so much: it shows me my true colours. I might be mahayanist by creed and tenet, but in truth I'm still jumping between the common and uncommon small scopes.  :( :o (From the practical point of view, I might just as well be a Christian, a Hindu, or even a non-religious humanist; but of course, that would be a dead end, so to speak, without any room to grow. Surely there must be more to life than dining with God in the Heavenly Holiday-Inn?  ;D )


Zhalmed Pawo

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Re: Buddha chose Hinduism as "wrong path" to teach us a lesson?
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2010, 10:00:10 PM »
Thank you Trinley Kalsang for the explication; but why San Francisco? :D

But anyways, would you, all of you, the forum-readers, believe me if I would tell you that the outcome of the Small Scope of Lamrim equals Stream-Entry, or otherwise the first stage of Nobility, or Aryanship? If I would say that to properly realize the Small Scope, that is, Refuge, equals the attainment of the Path of Stream-Entrant, and therefore makes one a Holy One, would you believe me?

(I know that Mahayana is silent on these issues, but the effects are nevertheless accepted and seen in the Teachings. Stream-Entry is not typically mentioned as a category, but functionally the Lamrim-teachings accept the effects, so to speak. My personal wish is that these so called Hinayana-levels would be more known amongst us Mahayanists, because they are inspiring, and the gradual scale is more close to us, compared to the First Bhumi.)

There was here in this Forum before the funny question of whether the meditations of the Small Scope are "wrong paths", but at least taken together "as a unity" they lead the practitioner into the Arya-Marga, the Noble Path, so obviousloy they cannot be wrong in any sense. They lead to the Noble Path.

emptymountains

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Re: Buddha chose Hinduism as "wrong path" to teach us a lesson?
« Reply #23 on: April 03, 2010, 11:27:22 PM »
Of course, I'm talking about the initial scope--exemplified by the practice of moral discipline--as practiced in any major religion, motivated by fear of the sufferings of the afterlife. A path undertaken merely to gain higher rebirth within samsara (even if we are equating one of the form or formless realms with liberation) is ultimately deceptive. Within the context of a Hinayana or Mahayana path, it's different: The Hinayana path--which includes the initial and intermediate scopes--and the Mahayana path--which includes all three scopes--are obviously correct paths.

In-and-of itself, the practice of moral discipline according to the initial scope (i.e., not motivated by renunciation of pervasive suffering) is a wrong path because its effect is changing suffering at best, not liberation. Since the destination is wrong, then the path leading there is wrong. The only correct path--the middle path--is emptiness; it is the only door to liberation, and anything that falls short of liberation is a wrong path.

I know it seems strange to call a virtuous action a wrong path, but the virtues of the initial scope are still contaminated by delusion (i.e., self-grasping), and following any delusion is a wrong path. In other words, it would be a correct path except that the delusion of self-grasping ruins it for us. We may be following the path of non-harmfulness yet at the same time following the path of self-grasping; of course, it's the latter--not the former--which leads us astray.

Here's the point: the criterion for whether something is a correct or incorrect path is whether the action is motivated by self-grasping ignorance or wisdom realizing emptiness, i.e. whether it leads to liberation.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2010, 11:34:30 PM by emptymountains »

emptymountains

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Re: Buddha chose Hinduism as "wrong path" to teach us a lesson?
« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2010, 11:41:15 PM »
I agree that it is a necessary prerequisite (e.g., you can't bypass the initial scope and just start with the intermediate scope). But with respect to the causes of samsara and the causes of liberation, it is mistaken.

emptymountains

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Re: Buddha chose Hinduism as "wrong path" to teach us a lesson?
« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2010, 05:11:23 AM »
If we look at it outside the context of Hinayana and Mahayana, perhaps it is easier to see how it is a wrong path. But I agree, compared with the path to the lower realms, the path to the higher realms is the lesser of two evils.

Lineageholder

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Re: Buddha chose Hinduism as "wrong path" to teach us a lesson?
« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2010, 09:22:29 AM »
Buddha taught that rebirth as a human or a god is a true suffering.  This is so because it is a rebirth that arises from contaminated actions.  Delusions are true origins, so whatever is created by them is a suffering, and suffering is not a valid path.  Human and god happiness is nothing more than changing suffering and Geshe Kelsang says that, apart from giving us the opportunity to practise Dharma, our human life has no special qualities and it is a true suffering.  Therefore, strictly speaking, the actions that lead to rebirth as a human or a god are wrong paths because the only correct paths are those that lead to liberation and enlightenment - however, of course, we need to take rebirth as a human being or form realm god in order to meet the Dharma and if we use that life to practise the Dharma then it has immense value and meaning.  Its real value is to create the cause not to take such rebirths in the future.

Zhalmed Pawo

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Re: Buddha chose Hinduism as "wrong path" to teach us a lesson?
« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2010, 11:00:26 AM »
Therefore, strictly speaking, the actions that lead to rebirth as a human or a god are wrong paths because the only correct paths are those that lead to liberation and enlightenment - however, of course, we need to take rebirth as a human being or form realm god in order to meet the Dharma and if we use that life to practise the Dharma then it has immense value and meaning.  Its real value is to create the cause not to take such rebirths in the future.

True.

But interestingly, Bodhisattvas absolutely must take those rebirths, repeatedly, whereas Sravakas by definition do not.

I really must add here one of my favourite Sutras.
___________

Anuruddha Sutta - Samyutta Nikaya IX.6

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.


I have heard that on one occasion Ven. Anuruddha was dwelling among the Kosalans in a forest thicket. Now at that time, a devata from the retinue of the heaven of the Thirty-three named Jalini, one of Ven. Anuruddha's former consorts, went to him and, on arrival, addressed him with this verse:

Direct your mind to where you used to live,
among the devas of the Thirty-three,
empowered with all sensual pleasures.
Honored, surrounded by deva maidens, you will shine.

[Ven. Anuruddha:]

They've gone astray, deva maidens
established in self-identity.
And they've gone astray, those beings
with deva maidens as their aim.

[Jalini:]

They don't know bliss
who haven't seen Nandana,
abode of the eminent devas,
glorious, of the Thirty-three.

[Ven. Anuruddha:]

You fool, don't you know the arahants' maxim?
'How inconstant are compounded things!
Their nature: to arise and pass away.
They disband as they are arising.
Their total stilling is bliss.'

Jalini, there is now in deva company
no further abode [for me].
With the utter ending of wandering on in birth,
there is now no further becoming.

___________

I would still like to see a glimpse of Jalini, no matter how astray this wish might be.  ;D

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Buddha chose Hinduism as "wrong path" to teach us a lesson?
« Reply #28 on: June 26, 2015, 02:59:24 PM »
This such an interesting debate first on how Shakyamuni Buddha chose to practise Hinduism and then abandon the religion to show that Buddhism the right path.

I did not get that impression at all but rather Shakyamuni Buddha did not find His own realisation and liberation from the truth of suffering.  However, it must be noted that the Buddha did not condemn Hinduism, another great aspect of Buddhism which He taught to be accepting to all religions. Such is the beauty of Buddhism and it is great to read this and know the difference.

In the same manner, Shakyamuni Buddha did not condemn nor ban Hinduism greatly differs from the conflict between HHDL and the practice of Dorje Shugden. No relative comparison.   

Matibhadra

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Re: Buddha chose Hinduism as "wrong path" to teach us a lesson?
« Reply #29 on: July 17, 2015, 02:27:05 AM »
The whole story is based on the wrong assumption that the evil dalie is a “buddha”. But since he is just an ordinary criminal, the story just shows that his perverted mind is not inclined to pure dharma practice.