A question about stream entry in Mahayana

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Phenomniverse
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A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Phenomniverse »

I'm wondering what place stream-entry and other path attainments (culminating in arahatship) have in Mahayana Buddhism? Are they mentioned, and if so how are they understood in the context of the Bodhisattva ideal of remaining in samsara for the benefit of all beings? If you attain stream entry does that lead inevitably and irrevocably to the abandoning of samsara as Theravada suggests?
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Astus
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Astus »

It is mentioned as part of the sravaka path - for instance in the Diamond Sutra. But if one has bodhicitta - aims for buddhahood - then it is not relevant. Sravakas eventually turn to the bodhisattva path according to the one vehicle scheme as presented primarily in the Lotus Sutra.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

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

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

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


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
Malcolm
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Malcolm »

Phenomniverse wrote:I'm wondering what place stream-entry and other path attainments (culminating in arahatship) have in Mahayana Buddhism? Are they mentioned, and if so how are they understood in the context of the Bodhisattva ideal of remaining in samsara for the benefit of all beings? If you attain stream entry does that lead inevitably and irrevocably to the abandoning of samsara as Theravada suggests?
First bhumi is Mahāyāna stream entry according to the presentation if the Abhisamayālamkara.
Phenomniverse
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Phenomniverse »

Astus wrote:It is mentioned as part of the sravaka path - for instance in the Diamond Sutra. But if one has bodhicitta - aims for buddhahood - then it is not relevant. Sravakas eventually turn to the bodhisattva path according to the one vehicle scheme as presented primarily in the Lotus Sutra.
Stream entry may not be relevant but if already attained does it undermine the bodhisattva path?
Phenomniverse
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Phenomniverse »

Malcolm wrote: First bhumi is Mahāyāna stream entry according to the presentation if the Abhisamayālamkara.
How can the other path attainments be interpreted from a Mahayana perspective? For example, in a sadhana it says 'the state of a non-returner is attained'. Is non-returning not something to be avoided for a Bodhisattva?
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LastLegend
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by LastLegend »

For Mahayana, true wisdom does not abide in samsara or nirvana. There is no samsara to abide and no nirvana to abide. "No" as in no holding attachment to such conceptual distinction.
Make personal vows.

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Astus
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Astus »

Phenomniverse wrote:Stream entry may not be relevant but if already attained does it undermine the bodhisattva path?
No. If there is a desire to follow the bodhisattva path, it can be done at any time. The very fact of that desire is proof of being capable of raising bodhicitta.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

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

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

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


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
antiquebuddhas
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by antiquebuddhas »

Phenomniverse wrote:I'm wondering what place stream-entry and other path attainments (culminating in arahatship) have in Mahayana Buddhism? Are they mentioned, and if so how are they understood in the context of the Bodhisattva ideal of remaining in samsara for the benefit of all beings? If you attain stream entry does that lead inevitably and irrevocably to the abandoning of samsara as Theravada suggests?
Stream Entry is the initial phase of becoming arahat.
It is said that one became free from the one's external eye and mind i.e. they can become one with their mind and internal eye.
You will be free from the desires that your external eye sees and desires that mind generated.
A simple explanation on four stages of Nirvana:
http://www.burmese-art.com/blog/four-stages-of-nirvana
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Jinzang
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Jinzang »

I was told (though others disputed with me on the point) that once one becomes a stream enterer one is irrevocably bound to become an arhat. You can't change your mind at that point and enter the bodhisattva path. And similarly, if one attains the path of seeing, that one eventually will become a buddha. There is no falling back at that point and becoming an arhat or a pratyekabuddha.
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Malcolm
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Malcolm »

Jinzang wrote:I was told (though others disputed with me on the point) that once one becomes a stream enterer one is irrevocably bound to become an arhat. You can't change your mind at that point and enter the bodhisattva path.
This is the Hinayāna point of view. This is not the Mahāyāna view of the matter.
Malcolm
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Malcolm »

Phenomniverse wrote:
Malcolm wrote: First bhumi is Mahāyāna stream entry according to the presentation if the Abhisamayālamkara.
How can the other path attainments be interpreted from a Mahayana perspective? For example, in a sadhana it says 'the state of a non-returner is attained'. Is non-returning not something to be avoided for a Bodhisattva?
A non-returner is an eighth stage bodhisattva who is not longer subject to rebirth in the desire realm, since they have attained power over birth.
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seeker242
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by seeker242 »

Malcolm wrote:
Phenomniverse wrote:I'm wondering what place stream-entry and other path attainments (culminating in arahatship) have in Mahayana Buddhism? Are they mentioned, and if so how are they understood in the context of the Bodhisattva ideal of remaining in samsara for the benefit of all beings? If you attain stream entry does that lead inevitably and irrevocably to the abandoning of samsara as Theravada suggests?
First bhumi is Mahāyāna stream entry according to the presentation if the Abhisamayālamkara.
Although, it's said that a theravada defined stream enterer cannot fall back to a non-ariya stage and is only capable of 7 more rebirths. Can First bhumi fall back to pre-bhumi stage?
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Astus »

seeker242 wrote:Although, it's said that a theravada defined stream enterer cannot fall back to a non-ariya stage and is only capable of 7 more rebirths. Can First bhumi fall back to pre-bhumi stage?
No, they can only fall into the sravaka path if they abandon bodhicitta.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

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

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

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


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
Phenomniverse
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Phenomniverse »

Malcolm wrote:
Jinzang wrote:I was told (though others disputed with me on the point) that once one becomes a stream enterer one is irrevocably bound to become an arhat. You can't change your mind at that point and enter the bodhisattva path.
This is the Hinayāna point of view. This is not the Mahāyāna view of the matter.
Does Mahayana use the same terms to describe different experiences (with respect to stream entry, non-returning etc), or are they the same experience framed differently?
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Aemilius
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Aemilius »

The terms stream entry, once-returner, non-returner and arhat are used in some Mahayana sutras, for example in the Lankavatara sutra, Diamond sutra and other Perfection of Wisdom sutras.
The term non-returner (avaivartika) is used in the Mahayana teaching of ten bhumis, but with a different meaning. It means nonreturning from becoming a Samyak-Sambuddha and it occurs in the irreversible bodhisattva stages.
svaha
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They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
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Bakmoon
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Bakmoon »

Aemilius wrote:The terms stream entry, once-returner, non-returner and arhat are used in some Mahayana sutras, for example in the Lankavatara sutra, Diamond sutra and other Perfection of Wisdom sutras.
The term non-returner (avaivartika) is used in the Mahayana teaching of ten bhumis, but with a different meaning. It means nonreturning from becoming a Samyak-Sambuddha and it occurs in the irreversible bodhisattva stages.
I think that the term for non-returner is different. In Pali a non-returner is called an Anāgāmi, and I think the Sanskrit is the same. I think Anāgāmi literally means something like 'one who doesn't come' and Avaivartika literally means something like 'one who never turns back'. Gotta love the subtlety of Sanskrit.
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Aemilius
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Aemilius »

Astus wrote:
seeker242 wrote:Although, it's said that a theravada defined stream enterer cannot fall back to a non-ariya stage and is only capable of 7 more rebirths. Can First bhumi fall back to pre-bhumi stage?
No, they can only fall into the sravaka path if they abandon bodhicitta.
According to the Sarvastivadin Abhidharma even Arhats can backslide. This is told in the History of Indian Buddhism (Akira & Groner). Sarvastivada views were predominant in India, as well as in China, Tibet and other countries of Northern Buddhism, compared to the earlier littleknown sthaviravada/theravada tradition. The possibility of backsliding is implicit in some of the sravakayana sutras, if you understand them correctly, i.e. in line of the Sarvastivada. See for ex Dhammapada verse 344. Naturally the official Theravada doctrine doesn't allow this interpretation.
The Lotus of the True Law sutra makes it clear and explicit, that the attainments of stream entry etc are all temporary, not absolute, not final. They can though last for thousands or millions of years, according to the Mahayana teachings, that I have read or heard.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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Astus
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Astus »

Aemilius,

Dhp 344 talks about people who abandon the monastic life, not people falling back from enlightenment. Can you give exact references to Sarvastivada sources, or anything in the Abhidharmakosha for instance?
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

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

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

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


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
Bakmoon
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Bakmoon »

Aemilius wrote:According to the Sarvastivadin Abhidharma even Arhats can backslide. This is told in the History of Indian Buddhism (Akira & Groner). Sarvastivada views were predominant in India, as well as in China, Tibet and other countries of Northern Buddhism, compared to the earlier littleknown sthaviravada/theravada tradition. The possibility of backsliding is implicit in some of the sravakayana sutras, if you understand them correctly, i.e. in line of the Sarvastivada. See for ex Dhammapada verse 344. Naturally the official Theravada doctrine doesn't allow this interpretation.
The Lotus of the True Law sutra makes it clear and explicit, that the attainments of stream entry etc are all temporary, not absolute, not final. They can though last for thousands or millions of years, according to the Mahayana teachings, that I have read or heard.
Wow. I thought that the idea that Arhats could fall was a distinctively Mahasanghika doctrine. I'd love to study up on this.

By the way, does anyone know what the various Mahayana schools have to say on the subject.
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Aemilius
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Re: A question about stream entry in Mahayana

Post by Aemilius »

Bakmoon wrote:
Aemilius wrote:According to the Sarvastivadin Abhidharma even Arhats can backslide. This is told in the History of Indian Buddhism (Akira & Groner). Sarvastivada views were predominant in India, as well as in China, Tibet and other countries of Northern Buddhism, compared to the earlier littleknown sthaviravada/theravada tradition. The possibility of backsliding is implicit in some of the sravakayana sutras, if you understand them correctly, i.e. in line of the Sarvastivada. See for ex Dhammapada verse 344. Naturally the official Theravada doctrine doesn't allow this interpretation.
The Lotus of the True Law sutra makes it clear and explicit, that the attainments of stream entry etc are all temporary, not absolute, not final. They can though last for thousands or millions of years, according to the Mahayana teachings, that I have read or heard.
Wow. I thought that the idea that Arhats could fall was a distinctively Mahasanghika doctrine. I'd love to study up on this.
Vasubandhu discusses it in atleast two or three separate places of Abhidharmakosha. Sorry, that I can't remember the exact page numbers, I'll have to look that up.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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