Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby Rakshasa » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:16 pm

On the outset, the immeasurably long career of a Bodhisattva gives the impression that the ones who choose Mahayana walk a much more difficult path compared to those of the Sravakas who aim for Arhathood. But I have observed that it is usually the Arhats who walk a more difficult path compared to Mahayanists. Mahayana usually attracts those who do not want to adopt celibacy, or those who are satisfied with ritual chanting, mantras and other rituals. Of course, when you look at the lives of a Zen monk, a Tibetan Lama or a Forest monk from Thailand, it is ostensibly the Thai monk that lives the most difficult life. A Thai Forest monk almost makes a Tibetan Lama look like a celebrity.

So which vehicle do you think is really the most difficult path to traverse?

When I read about the biography of the Mahasiddhas who lived in jungles, cremation grounds and had no support, official recognition etc, I think that they really led a very difficult life compared to regular monks of that time who had support from lay believers, and from fellow Sangha in a monastic setting. But in today's times, the tables seem to have turned. Pure Land, Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, etc - at least in the majority of cases - looks much less harsher path compared to Theravadin traditions.
User avatar
Rakshasa
 
Posts: 145
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:29 am

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:34 pm

There are two seemingly contradictory places this one goes for me:

Conventionally, 'difficult' is a relative thing I think, as suffering is experienced no matter what one has or hasn't. "Even if it rained gold coins" and all that...so I think that maybe difficulty is there no matter where you are.

On the other hand, arguably the more removed from things someone is, the easier the trip to the big E will be right? Doesn't this indicate that staying in society is, in some sense more difficult in terms of progress?

But yeah in terms of day to day toil and such, the farther removed someone is the harder it is I guess. However, is hard a good thing? Is a kind of austerity for it's own sake more effective than a path that involves less of it? personally i'm not sure on that one.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2162
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby LastLegend » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:34 pm

I don't think any vehicle is easy. I think Buddha encouraged living with the basic necessities and avoiding unnecessary austerities. But which ever practice is fruitful, I think one should continue with it.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
User avatar
LastLegend
 
Posts: 1736
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby greentara » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:30 am

No vehicle is easy. Stilling the mind is not easy. Grace can be elusive. Mahayana, exluding Zen has a lot of magic and mystery and draws the right devotee to it, so as long as one doesn't become a mystery monger the path is lucid and well defined. Theravada can be seen as clear minded but a little dry; although the forest monks are particulary appealing.
All the different vehicles are simply suggestions for contemplation.
greentara
 
Posts: 894
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:03 am

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby PorkChop » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:51 am

Rakshasa wrote:A Thai Forest monk almost makes a Tibetan Lama look like a celebrity.


Yeah, but a Tibetan yogi on 40 year retreat, sleeping only a couple hours a night in full lotus makes your average Theravadan monk look like a Vegas fat cat...
Everything's relative.
Each tradition has their "yogic rock star renunciates".
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 684
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby plwk » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:57 am

On the outset, the immeasurably long career of a Bodhisattva gives the impression that the ones who choose Mahayana walk a much more difficult path compared to those of the Sravakas who aim for Arhathood. But I have observed that it is usually the Arhats who walk a more difficult path compared to Mahayanists.
How can one even start to generalise the noble path and career of a Samyak Sambuddha along sectarian lines?
First of all, the statement assumes that only the Mahayana has a Bodhisattva Path leading to Samyak Sambuddhahood. Does one know that the some of the early Sravaka Schools already have this idea? Or for that matter even in the only surviving one from those days, today, the Theravada has it?
Secondly, how can one even generalise the aspirations of Arhatship and Buddhahood, one who hears and awakens to the teaching from a Teacher, who introduces and teaches the Path, where even the Buddha Himself points out this difference?
Thirdly, why is there an assumption that Sravakas only aim for Arhatship or for that matter Mahayanists for Bodhisattvahood?
http://cttbusa.org/lotus/lotus14_1.asp
If there are Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, Upasikas, those who seek to be Hearers, Pratyekabuddhas, or those who seek the Bodhisattva Way, he should not torment them or cause them to have doubts by saying to them, “You are all very far from the Path, and you will never obtain the wisdom of all modes.
Why not? Because you are careless and lax in the Way.” Further, he should not frivolously discuss the Dharma for the sake of argument.”
I have known some people who are in Mahayana based organisations but neither aspire for Buddhahood nor Arhatship but merely that they will get a good life come the next round, heck one fella told me all he wanted from reciting 'Namo Amitabha Buddha' was a gorgeous body and looks next life! And did you know, by the way, that in Myanmar, there are pagodas (stupas) with inscriptions from past royal sponsors who made aspirations for Samma Sambodhi?
But I have observed that it is usually the Arhats who walk a more difficult path compared to Mahayanists.
Really? You met an Arhat lately?
Mahayana usually attracts those who do not want to adopt celibacy, or those who are satisfied with ritual chanting, mantras and other rituals.
Another gross generalisation. On ritualism, are we talking on the usual run off the mill types or the serious practitioners?
If it was the former, then yes, I may agree but guess what? It's also present in popular religious Theravada. Haven't you noticed what goes in places like Thailand and Sri Lanka? Festive galas, paritta chanting sessions, animistic propitiations, Bodhi Tree pujas, cult of amulets, divinations and astrological calculations and the endless lists of what popular religion and people dictate vs what Buddha Dharma is?
By the way, there is no requirement on one who wants to be Buddhist to be a celibate, at least not for lay householders and consideration of a lifelong monastic life is a serious commitment for the truly even minded and serious practitioner who is fit and prepared. These days, even householders get the chance to participate in 'short term monastic retreats' ranging for a week to some months, giving the laity an insight into what it entails and preparatory experience for those seriously considering full monastic renunciation. So it's not the case of a blind plunge or imposition at all.
East Asian Mahayana (with exception of Japan) has a strong monastic background, so strong that for instance the Chinese Dharmaguptaka Bhikshunis are well known for 'lending' strength to other Buddhist Traditions where their Bhikshuni Order are either in want or stunted at Sramanerika level. In fact, in Chinese Mahayana circles, the female to male ratio of monastics is higher. Why? With various demographics and dynamics at work, who knows? The Chinese have coined an old adage that with one descendant taking the robes, several generations would be blessed, that's how highly regarded monastic life is.
Of course, when you look at the lives of a Zen monk, a Tibetan Lama or a Forest monk from Thailand, it is ostensibly the Thai monk that lives the most difficult life.
This is really a case of comparing oranges with apples.
Firstly, is there such a thing as Zen 'monk'? Since the Japanese have ditched the Vinaya for aeons now, do we still have monastics there, save from other Buddhist Traditions and a small isolated group from the original Chinese Dharmaguptaka transmission? And no, living in monastic and communal like settings and a shaved head does not make one a Bhikshu or Bhikshuni as far as the Vinaya is concerned.
Secondly, why the Thai Forest Monks? Are all Thai Bhikkhus from the Forest Tradition? Is one aware that Thai Bhikkhus who are from the Forest Tradition undertake the observance of the ascetic dhutanga or 'tudong' whereas the average Thai Bhikkhu does not? If I want to compare, I would compare the Thai Forest Tradition with say some of the Chinese Monastics who undertake the dhuta practices like those in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery in Calif or those in Haicheng, Liaoning Province of China and those Tibetan monastics who observe yogic and dhuta practices. Oranges with oranges, apples with apples....
The average Thai monk does not 'live the most difficult life', they are surrounded by an army of maechis and laity to serve their daily needs, so much so that many of them are afflicted with lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure and much comments have been made on their modern relevance to society. Try a read on Bhante Sravasti Dhammika's 'The Broken Buddha' on this issue.
A Thai Forest monk almost makes a Tibetan Lama look like a celebrity.
Apples and oranges....
So which vehicle do you think is really the most difficult path to traverse?
The only vehicle obstructing the Vehicle is my own....
When I read about the biography of the Mahasiddhas who lived in jungles, cremation grounds and had no support, official recognition etc, I think that they really led a very difficult life compared to regular monks of that time who had support from lay believers, and from fellow Sangha in a monastic setting. But in today's times, the tables seem to have turned. Pure Land, Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, etc - at least in the majority of cases - looks much less harsher path compared to Theravadin traditions.
Again, another naive assumption at work. You think that having lay support is a boon at all times? I would dare bet how some would fret to the Mahasiddhas that they didn't have to contend with Sangha politics, backbiting, constant fund raising, lazy disciples and loads of administrative work....
Ask any Theravadin what they think of the Tibetan ngondro practices, 100k or 111k of this or that, especially prostrations and you think for a moment that Pure Land practices are 'easy'? Try maintaining the 'singleminded mindfulness of the Buddha' even for a moment and at all times and let me know....
Hard and easy are terms for those with mind games, the sooner I get over these, the sooner I get started on the Path...
plwk
 
Posts: 2471
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:41 am

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby uan » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:53 am

plwk wrote:
On the outset, the immeasurably long career of a Bodhisattva gives the impression that the ones who choose Mahayana walk a much more difficult path compared to those of the Sravakas who aim for Arhathood. But I have observed that it is usually the Arhats who walk a more difficult path compared to Mahayanists.
How can one even start to generalise the noble path and career of a Samyak Sambuddha along sectarian lines?
First of all, the statement assumes that only the Mahayana has a Bodhisattva Path leading to Samyak Sambuddhahood. Does one know that the some of the early Sravaka Schools already have this idea? Or for that matter even in the only surviving one from those days, today, the Theravada has it?
Secondly, how can one even generalise the aspirations of Arhatship and Buddhahood, one who hears and awakens to the teaching from a Teacher, who introduces and teaches the Path, where even the Buddha Himself points out this difference?
Thirdly, why is there an assumption that Sravakas only aim for Arhatship or for that matter Mahayanists for Bodhisattvahood?
http://cttbusa.org/lotus/lotus14_1.asp
If there are Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, Upasikas, those who seek to be Hearers, Pratyekabuddhas, or those who seek the Bodhisattva Way, he should not torment them or cause them to have doubts by saying to them, “You are all very far from the Path, and you will never obtain the wisdom of all modes.
Why not? Because you are careless and lax in the Way.” Further, he should not frivolously discuss the Dharma for the sake of argument.”
I have known some people who are in Mahayana based organisations but neither aspire for Buddhahood nor Arhatship but merely that they will get a good life come the next round, heck one fella told me all he wanted from reciting 'Namo Amitabha Buddha' was a gorgeous body and looks next life! And did you know, by the way, that in Myanmar, there are pagodas (stupas) with inscriptions from past royal sponsors who made aspirations for Samma Sambodhi?
But I have observed that it is usually the Arhats who walk a more difficult path compared to Mahayanists.
Really? You met an Arhat lately?
Mahayana usually attracts those who do not want to adopt celibacy, or those who are satisfied with ritual chanting, mantras and other rituals.
Another gross generalisation. On ritualism, are we talking on the usual run off the mill types or the serious practitioners?
If it was the former, then yes, I may agree but guess what? It's also present in popular religious Theravada. Haven't you noticed what goes in places like Thailand and Sri Lanka? Festive galas, paritta chanting sessions, animistic propitiations, Bodhi Tree pujas, cult of amulets, divinations and astrological calculations and the endless lists of what popular religion and people dictate vs what Buddha Dharma is?
By the way, there is no requirement on one who wants to be Buddhist to be a celibate, at least not for lay householders and consideration of a lifelong monastic life is a serious commitment for the truly even minded and serious practitioner who is fit and prepared. These days, even householders get the chance to participate in 'short term monastic retreats' ranging for a week to some months, giving the laity an insight into what it entails and preparatory experience for those seriously considering full monastic renunciation. So it's not the case of a blind plunge or imposition at all.
East Asian Mahayana (with exception of Japan) has a strong monastic background, so strong that for instance the Chinese Dharmaguptaka Bhikshunis are well known for 'lending' strength to other Buddhist Traditions where their Bhikshuni Order are either in want or stunted at Sramanerika level. In fact, in Chinese Mahayana circles, the female to male ratio of monastics is higher. Why? With various demographics and dynamics at work, who knows? The Chinese have coined an old adage that with one descendant taking the robes, several generations would be blessed, that's how highly regarded monastic life is.
Of course, when you look at the lives of a Zen monk, a Tibetan Lama or a Forest monk from Thailand, it is ostensibly the Thai monk that lives the most difficult life.
This is really a case of comparing oranges with apples.
Firstly, is there such a thing as Zen 'monk'? Since the Japanese have ditched the Vinaya for aeons now, do we still have monastics there, save from other Buddhist Traditions and a small isolated group from the original Chinese Dharmaguptaka transmission? And no, living in monastic and communal like settings and a shaved head does not make one a Bhikshu or Bhikshuni as far as the Vinaya is concerned.
Secondly, why the Thai Forest Monks? Are all Thai Bhikkhus from the Forest Tradition? Is one aware that Thai Bhikkhus who are from the Forest Tradition undertake the observance of the ascetic dhutanga or 'tudong' whereas the average Thai Bhikkhu does not? If I want to compare, I would compare the Thai Forest Tradition with say some of the Chinese Monastics who undertake the dhuta practices like those in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery in Calif or those in Haicheng, Liaoning Province of China and those Tibetan monastics who observe yogic and dhuta practices. Oranges with oranges, apples with apples....
The average Thai monk does not 'live the most difficult life', they are surrounded by an army of maechis and laity to serve their daily needs, so much so that many of them are afflicted with lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure and much comments have been made on their modern relevance to society. Try a read on Bhante Sravasti Dhammika's 'The Broken Buddha' on this issue.
A Thai Forest monk almost makes a Tibetan Lama look like a celebrity.
Apples and oranges....
So which vehicle do you think is really the most difficult path to traverse?
The only vehicle obstructing the Vehicle is my own....
When I read about the biography of the Mahasiddhas who lived in jungles, cremation grounds and had no support, official recognition etc, I think that they really led a very difficult life compared to regular monks of that time who had support from lay believers, and from fellow Sangha in a monastic setting. But in today's times, the tables seem to have turned. Pure Land, Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, etc - at least in the majority of cases - looks much less harsher path compared to Theravadin traditions.
Again, another naive assumption at work. You think that having lay support is a boon at all times? I would dare bet how some would fret to the Mahasiddhas that they didn't have to contend with Sangha politics, backbiting, constant fund raising, lazy disciples and loads of administrative work....
Ask any Theravadin what they think of the Tibetan ngondro practices, 100k or 111k of this or that, especially prostrations and you think for a moment that Pure Land practices are 'easy'? Try maintaining the 'singleminded mindfulness of the Buddha' even for a moment and at all times and let me know....
Hard and easy are terms for those with mind games, the sooner I get over these, the sooner I get started on the Path...


:good:


plwk wrote:
So which vehicle do you think is really the most difficult path to traverse?
The only vehicle obstructing the Vehicle is my own....


about sums it up
uan
 
Posts: 247
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:58 am

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby Jikan » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:03 pm

at the risk of sounding precious:

The most difficult vehicle is one's own. This is because you actually have to do it and not just discuss it or think it over.

The easiest is everyone else's. (at least that's the easiest to comment on, speculate on, fuss over...)
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4319
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:45 pm

The most difficult vehicle is whichever one has a sangha.

:tongue:
User avatar
Karma Dondrup Tashi
 
Posts: 1011
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:13 pm

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:37 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:The most difficult vehicle is whichever one has a sangha.

:tongue:


:applause: :applause:
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2162
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby Nighthawk » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:22 pm

They are all difficult.
User avatar
Nighthawk
 
Posts: 756
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:04 am

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:26 pm

I feel the Sarma tradition of combining all vehicles in one is by far the most complicated way to go.
deepbluehum
 
Posts: 1302
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:05 am
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby conebeckham » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:26 pm

The most difficult vehicle for sentient beings is the wheel of samsara without any Buddhadharma. But we don't realize this, because we don't have the long view. If we had the long view, practice of Buddhadharma, in whatever form, would be seen as preferable, and perhaps even "easy."

If we're talking about beings who have enountered the Buddhadharma, though, in this particular existence, I think it all depends on an individual sentient being's habitual patterns, etc.

One can't say which is most "difficult."

I once asked a Khenpo which Dharma book he would recommend as the most important book to read. His reply was that it was impossible to say which sutra, sastra, or book was "most important" as all remedies are specific to the given poison.
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2463
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:11 pm

:good:
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
JKhedrup
Former staff member
 
Posts: 1965
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby seeker242 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:15 am

I think the most difficult one is the one which you think is the most difficult. And the most easy one is the one that you think is the most easy. :thinking: :smile:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
User avatar
seeker242
 
Posts: 648
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:50 pm
Location: South Florida, USA

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:50 am

HH Drukchen said Tibetan Buddhism is the hardest because of practicing all three vehicles, but it's very special for this reason. Definitely it's crazy complicated. My lama also said Gongchig is crazy.
deepbluehum
 
Posts: 1302
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:05 am
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby greentara » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:33 am

deepbluehum, I agree that the dharma vehicle can be very difficult but why so complicated? Do people shun what is simple and direct for the complex and esoteric? Perhaps more fodder for the mind to chew over.
greentara
 
Posts: 894
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:03 am

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:09 am

I don't think so. These days most people prefer dharma light- we had a thread about this a couple of months ago called "Comfort Food Buddhism". People want easy answers and progress while having to invest as little time as possible. This is the modern age.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
JKhedrup
Former staff member
 
Posts: 1965
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby Red Faced Buddha » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:30 am

Probably Vajrayana. Those guys have it rough, with all the secrecy, finding a guru, etc. If I received secret teachings, I would eventually spill the beans. :smile:
A person once asked me why I would want to stop rebirth. "It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want to be reborn."
I replied. "Wanting to be reborn is like wanting to stay in a jail cell, when you have the chance to go free and experience the whole wide world. Does a convict, on being freed from his shabby, constricting, little cell, suddenly say "I really want to go back to jail and be put in a cell. It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want that?"
Red Faced Buddha
 
Posts: 185
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:16 am
Location: The Middle of Nowhere

Re: Which Buddhist vehicle do you think is more dificult?

Postby lobster » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:23 pm

The Middle Way is very simple, people complicate it. Most of us are happy indulging the dream, polishing the bars and fabricating escapes. Every person gaining insight, leaves the game of vehicles, ease and practice. In effect, if we awoke, what would we do . . . :shrug:
User avatar
lobster
 
Posts: 910
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:06 pm

Next

Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: daverupa, Google [Bot], MSN [Bot] and 10 guests

>