The Meaning of "Mahayana"

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.
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Dharma Flower
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The Meaning of "Mahayana"

Post by Dharma Flower » Wed May 24, 2017 11:32 pm

The classic treatise The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana explains that the term "Mahayana" is not referring to one school of Buddhism being a greater vehicle than another school. Instead, the word "Mahayana" is a reference to Dharma-body as the vehicle which leads all beings to enlightenment:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Awakening ... yana#Title

Dharma Flower
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Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:03 am
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Re: The Meaning of "Mahayana"

Post by Dharma Flower » Thu May 25, 2017 7:05 am

The Awakening of Faith can be helpful in understanding the meaning of enlightenment. When we awaken to Buddhahood, this is not because there was a "little Buddha" latent inside us all along, waiting to be born.

Instead, enlightenment already interpenetrates the universe, and we realize our essential oneness with this enlightenment when we realize the truth of non-self:
"Interpenetration" of all phenomena: the ultimate principle of all things is emptiness; every
individual thing fully manifests the ultimate principle of everything else. Developed in Huayan
school. Indra's Net.
http://www2.kenyon.edu/Depts/Religion/F ... na-360.pdf
When Zen masters say that the deeper meaning of the Nembutsu is to realize Amida as our true nature, they don't mean there's a "little Amida" latent inside us, separate from everything else in the universe. Realizing Amida as our true nature is instead realizing the falsehood of our separateness:
It is because we have come to think of the symbolic self as "me" that we do not realize that essentially we are Amida Buddha... We must practice with the intention of eliminating that separation as we make prostrations, do practice and enter samadhi. If you practice in this way, then certainly you will come to realize that you yourself are the Truth, the natural principle of things.
https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/HaradaSekkei.html
Another thing worth reading is that John Paraskevopoulos wrote a paper on The Awakening of Faith on how it relates to Shin Buddhism:
http://www.nembutsu.info/aof2.htm
Amida, who is inseparable from Suchness, is described as Infinite Light because there is nowhere where his light does not shine; nothing which it cannot penetrate. This means more than just the fact that all beings are embraced. It also means that all existence - 'plants, trees and land' as Shinran would say - is the manifestation of Amida as 'conditioned Suchness' (to use Suzuki's term) and equally capable of revealing his presence within samsara to those whose spiritual eye has been informed by shinjin.
http://www.nembutsu.info/aof2.htm

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