Buddhas, omnipotence and mantras

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
User avatar
yan kong
Posts: 252
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:01 am

Buddhas, omnipotence and mantras

Postby yan kong » Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:18 am

I have always maintained the personal belief that the path to liberation in based on personal effort. Thus Buddhas are not omnipotent or all powerful because that would imply me that they have the ability to liberate sentient beings without the use of the dharma and this would be a dilemma when contemplating their compassion because if they were omnipotent there would be no more suffering beings because they could just shall their fingers and liberation for all.

The thing is I have started chanting certain mantras which are supposed to have certain specific effects, particularly Ksitigarbha's mantra to eliminate negative karma. So I am rather wondering how this mantra can have this specific effect and who or what our how is karma purified exactly through a particular mantra?
"Meditation is a spiritual exercise, not a therapeutic regime... Our intention is to enter Nirvana, not to make life in Samsara more tolerable." Chan Master Hsu Yun

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6615
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Buddhas, omnipotence and mantras

Postby Astus » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:24 am

Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



brendan
Posts: 101
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Buddhas, omnipotence and mantras

Postby brendan » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:19 am

Mahayana Buddhism seems to have many contradictions.

If you read the 10 Mahyana Bhumis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bh%C5%ABmi_(Buddhism) you will notice accomplishments such as ability to read minds ability to manifest as many bodies as there are atoms.

I think its great that beings could summon this sort of vision.

But If these were true I very much doubt that we would even have to invoke an intention.

Mahayana is nice on paper.

The only way it works is the constant claim that its co-emergence from our side. Yet if one is to read the accomplishments of these great Bodhisattvas it seems silly.

On paper it is wonderful but I feel nothing more than that.

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 7106
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Buddhas, omnipotence and mantras

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:24 am

I believe I have seen the explanation that mantra chanting, meditation, and any form of practice really has the potential for extinguishing negative karmic seeds in your individual Alaya-Vijnana, that is the purification bit.

To the best of my knowledge it is only Mahayana belief that Karma can be affected this way..but someone correct me if i'm wrong.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

Odsal
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:16 am

Re: Buddhas, omnipotence and mantras

Postby Odsal » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:02 am


brendan
Posts: 101
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Buddhas, omnipotence and mantras

Postby brendan » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:11 am


Odsal
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:16 am

Re: Buddhas, omnipotence and mantras

Postby Odsal » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:44 am


User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 7106
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Buddhas, omnipotence and mantras

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:02 am

Haven't poured through the TOS, but i'll bet not intentionally derailing threads into new subjects is in there! Maybe take the disagreement to PM's?

Anyway, even if one doesn't buy that Mahasattvas and such are out there somewhere to purify your Karma..there are all kinds of explanations in Vajrayana for what Mahasattvas etc. actually are - see sambogakaya, Three Bodies ideas. And as I mentioned, one explanation of purification is said to be extinguishing seeds in the Alaya Vijnana - storehouse consciousness.

So far be it from me to dissuade anyone that wants to take a completely literalist view of things, but in the all the teachings i've read on this the explanation is a bit more nuanced than just thinking something out there is doing it all for you. Stories about manifesting bodies and whatnot..well, if you want to complain about Mahayana believing in such things, you need to accuse all Buddhism, as there is stuff about beings, hells, psychic powers in the Pali Canon also...albeit in Mahayana the "magic" aspect really does stand out.

Skillful means. Alot of stories may be hard to swallow from a literal perspective from people living in our culture..but I think it's important to keep a bit of an open mind, while also acknowledging that much of human history period is full of such stories, and in fact was told with such stories. This may seem difficult to deal with in a culture where finding what is empirically true is such an obsession, but really if it's a problem with Mahayana that one can't get past..i'd say it's a problem that one will eventually have to grapple with in all Buddhism minus the sanitized "secular" versions out there.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

User avatar
Ayu
Global Moderator
Posts: 6559
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Europe

Re: Buddhas, omnipotence and mantras

Postby Ayu » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:08 am

I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

brendan
Posts: 101
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Buddhas, omnipotence and mantras

Postby brendan » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:12 am

Yes on paper the claims ie: 10 Bhumis along with the perfections are wonderful but to claim that beings have achieved them just seems silly.

So there for I don't see how the mantras can purify ones karma. But hey these beings are still clearly fantastic so why not do them ( Which is what this thread is about.)

I am also on the path.

At least it is a path that dosnt seem to have any sideeffects like the Abraham or monotheistic paths have. The monotheistic paths just seem to create a "I" that believes it can do what it wants when it wants without any negative consequences.

At least the Mahayana path shows total responsibility for one actions.

Anyway all the best.

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6615
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Buddhas, omnipotence and mantras

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:04 am

brendan,

Purification happens because you practice. There is nothing magical here. Instead of thinking about one's desires and aversions, one focuses on the object of meditation, thus overwriting to some extent one's habits. This is purification.

Supernatural powers like having many bodies and reading minds are not exclusive for bodhisattvas and buddhas but practically any being (including the lower realms) with a not too dull mind.
Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.




Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 24 guests