What are the General Mahayana Teachings?

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
Malcolm
Posts: 27372
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: What are the General Mahayana Teachings?

Post by Malcolm » Fri Mar 02, 2018 7:37 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:45 pm
Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:15 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:02 pm
the field of sentient beings is called the sattvadhātu and the field of emptiness is called the dharmatā-dhātu (dharmadhātu for short).
Why is the sattvadhātu then not the sattvatādhātu?
The only attestation I can find of the internet for the usage of the term dharmatādhātu is in your own translation of Treasury of Ati. I am not doubting the term, but I am wondering its source.

There is another conversation on DharmaWheel that I found that addresses this. The Tibetan chos nyid dbyings is specifically dharmatādhātu not dharmadhātu, correct?

Could the poor attestation of dharmatādhātu on the internet be because of the availability of Sanskrit texts available romanized? Are the texts that contain usage of dharmatādhātu only extant in Tibetan? Do you know if any of these texts would also be in Chinese? I am wondering how they translated the term.
The term itself is mainly confined to the Saṃdhinirmocana Sūtra, but you can see many sūtras where the term dharmatā is systematically related to dharmadhātu. For example, the Bodhisattvapitika sutra among others makes the following statement:

That dharmatā should be understood to be a place, therefore, the dharmadhātu is called "a place."

Or, The Sarvabuddha-viṣayāvatāra-jñānālokālaṃkāra-sūtra states:

Whether the tathāgatas arise or not, dharmatā, dharmasthitikatā, and this dharmadhātu are only places.

The equivalence of this trio is repeated over and over again in the order, dharmatā, dharmadhātu and dharmasthitikatā.

There are further uses in Tantric literature but I generally exclude those here.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6859
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: What are the General Mahayana Teachings?

Post by Astus » Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:24 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:19 pm
But also: the āgamāḥ do not necessarily equal "śrāvaka Buddhadharma". Śrāvaka Buddhadharma is also Abhidharma, treatises, etc.
If it is said that sravakas do not see the emptiness of dharmas, but believe that dharmas are self-existent, and that belief is taught not in the agamas but in the abhidharma, then which abhidharma is taught by the Buddha before the Mahayana sutras?
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"

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6859
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: What are the General Mahayana Teachings?

Post by Astus » Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:37 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:27 pm
The Great Discourse on the Emptiness of Dharmas and it analogue do not really discuss the emptiness of phenomena, it refers to the emptiness of persons.
It might not be the best example, but that's how it is interpreted in the MPPS. And there is a reason to say that it confirms the emptiness of appearances, because it talks of how there is no self in dependent origination, in other words, appearances are empty.
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"

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 27372
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: What are the General Mahayana Teachings?

Post by Malcolm » Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:50 pm

Astus wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:37 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:27 pm
The Great Discourse on the Emptiness of Dharmas and it analogue do not really discuss the emptiness of phenomena, it refers to the emptiness of persons.
It might not be the best example, but that's how it is interpreted in the MPPS. And there is a reason to say that it confirms the emptiness of appearances, because it talks of how there is no self in dependent origination, in other words, appearances are empty.
One can infer the selflessness of phenomena from teachings in the Agamas, but it is not directly taught there.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6859
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: What are the General Mahayana Teachings?

Post by Astus » Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:09 am

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:50 pm
One can infer the selflessness of phenomena from teachings in the Agamas, but it is not directly taught there.
Nor is it taught that they are self-existent, hence nothing to oppose the emptiness of appearances to. And as far as the aggregates and sense-areas go, they are taught to be without self many times.
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"

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 27372
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: What are the General Mahayana Teachings?

Post by Malcolm » Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:13 pm

Astus wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:09 am
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:50 pm
One can infer the selflessness of phenomena from teachings in the Agamas, but it is not directly taught there.
Nor is it taught that they are self-existent, hence nothing to oppose the emptiness of appearances to. And as far as the aggregates and sense-areas go, they are taught to be without self many times.
This the selflessness of the person, not of phenomena.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6859
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: What are the General Mahayana Teachings?

Post by Astus » Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:04 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:13 pm
This the selflessness of the person, not of phenomena.
The selflessness of person is that there is no person, only the aggregates, while the selflessness of phenomena is that the aggregates themselves are without essence. The sutra talks about how phenomena themselves are dependent and without any will of their own, so it matches what the Lankavatara Sutra (2.24, tr Red Pine) says: "And what does it mean to know that dharmas have no self? It means to be aware that the self-existence of the skandhas, dhatus, and ayatanas is imaginary, that the skandhas, dhatus, and ayatanas are devoid of a self or anything that belongs to a self, that the skandhas, dhatus, and ayatanas are assemblages tied to desire and karma and that they arise from the interplay of conditions but are themselves passive, and that all dharmas are like this."
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"

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 27372
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: What are the General Mahayana Teachings?

Post by Malcolm » Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:20 pm

Astus wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:04 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:13 pm
This the selflessness of the person, not of phenomena.
The selflessness of person is that there is no person, only the aggregates, while the selflessness of phenomena is that the aggregates themselves are without essence. The sutra talks about how phenomena themselves are dependent and without any will of their own, so it matches what the Lankavatara Sutra (2.24, tr Red Pine) says: "And what does it mean to know that dharmas have no self? It means to be aware that the self-existence of the skandhas, dhatus, and ayatanas is imaginary, that the skandhas, dhatus, and ayatanas are devoid of a self or anything that belongs to a self, that the skandhas, dhatus, and ayatanas are assemblages tied to desire and karma and that they arise from the interplay of conditions but are themselves passive, and that all dharmas are like this."
The main point, Astus, is that even though the selflessness of phenomena may be briefly mentioned in Agama and Nikaya texts, it is not extensively mentioned in these texts. On this point, Candrakīrti cites Nāgārjuna's Lokātītastava:

You have said there is no liberation without realizing the signless,
therefore, you have taught this completely in the Mahāyāna.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6859
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: What are the General Mahayana Teachings?

Post by Astus » Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:12 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:20 pm
it is not extensively mentioned in these texts.
And the reason for that is that dharmas are not taught to have/be svabhava in them either, furthermore, even the concept of dharma as a fundamental element is missing. And according to Bhikkhu Bodhi (Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, p 3): "Even in the Abhidhamma Pitaka itself the dhamma theory is not yet expressed as an explicit philosophical tenet; this comes only later, in the Commentaries."
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"

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 27372
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: What are the General Mahayana Teachings?

Post by Malcolm » Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:07 pm

Astus wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:12 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:20 pm
it is not extensively mentioned in these texts.
And the reason for that is that dharmas are not taught to have/be svabhava in them either, furthermore, even the concept of dharma as a fundamental element is missing. And according to Bhikkhu Bodhi (Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, p 3): "Even in the Abhidhamma Pitaka itself the dhamma theory is not yet expressed as an explicit philosophical tenet; this comes only later, in the Commentaries."
I think you mean that the Mahāyāna taught extensively on absence of self in phenomena as a remedy to Sarvastivadin, etc., assertions of svalakṣana and svabhāva, assertions absent in so-called Early Buddhism. Whatever the case may be, the issue is not addressed at length in the Nikayas/Agamas.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6859
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: What are the General Mahayana Teachings?

Post by Astus » Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:04 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:07 pm
Whatever the case may be, the issue is not addressed at length in the Nikayas/Agamas.
So it is.
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"

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 27372
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: What are the General Mahayana Teachings?

Post by Malcolm » Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:06 pm

Astus wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:04 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:07 pm
Whatever the case may be, the issue is not addressed at length in the Nikayas/Agamas.
So it is.
Another thing is that since the issue is not sufficiently addressed at length, people were able to invent these intrinsic characteristics and so on -- no wonder Mahāyānis had doubts about an arhat's awakening.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

ivette18
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:37 am

Re: What are the General Mahayana Teachings?

Post by ivette18 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 4:21 pm

For a beginner the general Mahayana teaching to know are Karma, Nirvana and enlightenment.

User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 1483
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: What are the General Mahayana Teachings?

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:42 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:20 pm
Astus wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:04 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:13 pm
This the selflessness of the person, not of phenomena.
The selflessness of person is that there is no person, only the aggregates, while the selflessness of phenomena is that the aggregates themselves are without essence. The sutra talks about how phenomena themselves are dependent and without any will of their own, so it matches what the Lankavatara Sutra (2.24, tr Red Pine) says: "And what does it mean to know that dharmas have no self? It means to be aware that the self-existence of the skandhas, dhatus, and ayatanas is imaginary, that the skandhas, dhatus, and ayatanas are devoid of a self or anything that belongs to a self, that the skandhas, dhatus, and ayatanas are assemblages tied to desire and karma and that they arise from the interplay of conditions but are themselves passive, and that all dharmas are like this."
The main point, Astus, is that even though the selflessness of phenomena may be briefly mentioned in Agama and Nikaya texts, it is not extensively mentioned in these texts.
Venerble Huifeng wrote a whole paper disagreeing with what seems to be your position. I'm not saying he's right on account of that, anyone can write a "whole paper", but it might provide some interesting points.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.

吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Tenma, Tiago Simões and 33 guests