What would Buddha have thought 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.
nichiren-123
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What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by nichiren-123 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:52 pm

So I'm trying to understand how the different teachings relate to each other. I started with tientai's 5 periods but quickly realised that it wasn't historically accurate.
Realizing that the Mahayana doctrines aren't the words of the literal Buddha but later innovations, I wonder what the real Buddha, Sakyamuni would have thought about the Mahayana sutras? Do they hold true to the Buddha's meaning or would he have thought of them as wrong? What do you guys think?

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Malcolm
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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:58 pm

nichiren-123 wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:52 pm
So I'm trying to understand how the different teachings relate to each other. I started with tientai's 5 periods but quickly realised that it wasn't historically accurate.
Realizing that the Mahayana doctrines aren't the words of the literal Buddha but later innovations, I wonder what the real Buddha, Sakyamuni would have thought about the Mahayana sutras? Do they hold true to the Buddha's meaning or would he have thought of them as wrong? What do you guys think?
Of course Mahāyāna is the word of the Buddha.
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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by smcj » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:59 pm

There’s a perspective where Enlightenment has no discernment whatsoever. Both the appearance of a Buddha and his teaching of the Dharma is spontaneous. He doesn’t assess what is the correct teaching to give, but because of the rightness of the Buddha Nature appearing amongst the causes and conditions, whatever is the appropriate teaching for the karma of the beings present automatically happens.

I don’t know how that relates to this thread, but I think it’s a cool idea so I thought I’d share.
:twothumbsup:
Last edited by smcj on Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:14 pm

An article relevant to your question: http://purelanders.com/2011/12/17/whose ... is-truest/

M.G.
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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by M.G. » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:22 am

nichiren-123 wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:52 pm
So I'm trying to understand how the different teachings relate to each other. I started with tientai's 5 periods but quickly realised that it wasn't historically accurate.
Realizing that the Mahayana doctrines aren't the words of the literal Buddha but later innovations, I wonder what the real Buddha, Sakyamuni would have thought about the Mahayana sutras? Do they hold true to the Buddha's meaning or would he have thought of them as wrong? What do you guys think?
It’s fun to imagine that Sakayamuni might have wanted to debate later Buddhist teachers as to what he “really” meant, but I think this is ultimately unanswerable.

I personally prefer to believe he would have recognized the attainments and philosophical insights of many later Buddhist teachers and writers as valid, even if he disagreed with some of the presentation.

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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by tingdzin » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:58 am

M.G. wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:22 am
It’s fun to imagine that Sakayamuni might have wanted to debate later Buddhist teachers as to what he “really” meant, but I think this is ultimately unanswerable.
Of course.

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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by Anonymous X » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:20 am

smcj wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:59 pm
There’s a perspective where Enlightenment has no discernment whatsoever. Both the appearance of a Buddha and his teaching of the Dharma is spontaneous. He doesn’t assess what is the correct teaching to give, but because of the rightness of the Buddha Nature appearing amongst the causes and conditions, whatever is the appropriate teaching for the karma of the beings present automatically happens.

I don’t know how that relates to this thread, but I think it’s a cool idea so I thought I’d share.
:twothumbsup:
This is probably as accurate as we could imagine. In the early suttas, the Buddha describes no discernment in seeing, hearing, etc. He takes no position relative to any phenomenon. This is amazingly difficult for most to understand so there will be endless interpretations. His explanation of dependent origination is pure genius.

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:53 pm

There's also the matter that Dependent origination is perfectly consonant with Mahayana teachings. What is ironic is those who proclaim the Pali Canon is the earliest body of work yet deny rebirth and karma have missed the core genius of the Buddha's teaching in Dependent origination.

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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by Anonymous X » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:41 pm

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:53 pm
There's also the matter that Dependent origination is perfectly consonant with Mahayana teachings. What is ironic is those who proclaim the Pali Canon is the earliest body of work yet deny rebirth and karma have missed the core genius of the Buddha's teaching in Dependent origination.
What Buddhist denies rebirth and karma?

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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by conebeckham » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:51 pm

Anonymous X wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:41 pm
Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:53 pm
There's also the matter that Dependent origination is perfectly consonant with Mahayana teachings. What is ironic is those who proclaim the Pali Canon is the earliest body of work yet deny rebirth and karma have missed the core genius of the Buddha's teaching in Dependent origination.
What Buddhist denies rebirth and karma?
No Buddhist.

(By my definition..... :shrug: )
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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:21 pm

Very often people who question the validity of the Mahayana sutras instead uphold the supremacy of the Pali Canon while paradoxically rejecting rebirth/karma.
The "Why Secular Buddhism Is Not True" thread is fresh on my mind, so that's where my response came from.
Sorry for the tangent! :smile:

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yan kong
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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by yan kong » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:55 am

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:21 pm
Very often people who question the validity of the Mahayana sutras instead uphold the supremacy of the Pali Canon while paradoxically rejecting rebirth/karma.
The "Why Secular Buddhism Is Not True" thread is fresh on my mind, so that's where my response came from.
Sorry for the tangent! :smile:
One must make a distinction between secular Buddhists and those who reject Mahayana sutras as many of the latter accept both rebirth and karma.

That said, I agree with Malcolm's brief post.
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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by Mkoll » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:39 am

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:21 pm
Very often people who question the validity of the Mahayana sutras instead uphold the supremacy of the Pali Canon while paradoxically rejecting rebirth/karma.
The "Why Secular Buddhism Is Not True" thread is fresh on my mind, so that's where my response came from.
Sorry for the tangent! :smile:
IME online and IRL, those people (secular Buddhists, YOLO Buddhists, whatever you want to call them) are a minority. They're just really loud on the internet so it's easy to get the impression they have a lot of support.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by TharpaChodron » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:08 am

Mkoll wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:39 am
Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:21 pm
Very often people who question the validity of the Mahayana sutras instead uphold the supremacy of the Pali Canon while paradoxically rejecting rebirth/karma.
The "Why Secular Buddhism Is Not True" thread is fresh on my mind, so that's where my response came from.
Sorry for the tangent! :smile:
IME online and IRL, those people (secular Buddhists, YOLO Buddhists, whatever you want to call them) are a minority. They're just really loud on the internet so it's easy to get the impression they have a lot of support.
YOLO Buddhists? now that is a term I've never heard! :mrgreen:

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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by Mkoll » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:41 am

TharpaChodron wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:08 am
Mkoll wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:39 am
Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:21 pm
Very often people who question the validity of the Mahayana sutras instead uphold the supremacy of the Pali Canon while paradoxically rejecting rebirth/karma.
The "Why Secular Buddhism Is Not True" thread is fresh on my mind, so that's where my response came from.
Sorry for the tangent! :smile:
IME online and IRL, those people (secular Buddhists, YOLO Buddhists, whatever you want to call them) are a minority. They're just really loud on the internet so it's easy to get the impression they have a lot of support.
YOLO Buddhists? now that is a term I've never heard! :mrgreen:
Credit goes to Monlam Tharchin: I heard it from them first. :D
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:30 am

The words of the Buddha taught weren't even written down until a century after he spoke them...
...in a language he didn't speak...
...5,000 miles south of where he spoke them!
If Mahayana teachings (or any buddhist teachings) are practiced, and they lead to realization, then the teachings are authentic.
It's not like a religion where you have to believe that a miracle occurred centuries ago.
It doesn't really matter if the words in the dhammapada are Buddha's, or if the Lotus Sutra was made up during the time of King Askoka.
If you can practice secular Buddhism and attain realization, then it's authentic.
It's like, who invented fire by rubbing two sticks together? Nobody knows.
But, if you rub two sticks together properly, you can produce fire. It's aliving tradition.
You can do what somebody did centuries ago and get the exact same result. So, like that.
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Malcolm
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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by Malcolm » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:28 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:30 am
If you can practice secular Buddhism and attain realization, then it's authentic.
It won't happen. One cannot practice with wrong view and expect anything other than error as a result.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by pael » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:52 am

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:28 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:30 am
If you can practice secular Buddhism and attain realization, then it's authentic.
It won't happen. One cannot practice with wrong view and expect anything other than error as a result.

Kalama Sutta says:
"Now, Kalamas, one who is a disciple of the noble ones — his mind thus free from hostility, free from ill will, undefiled, & pure — acquires four assurances in the here-&-now:..."'But if there is no world after death, if there is no fruit of actions rightly & wrongly done, then here in the present life I look after myself with ease — free from hostility, free from ill will, free from trouble.' This is the second assurance he acquires.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Is this right view? I think Kalama Sutta is creed of secular Buddhism.
May all beings be free from suffering and causes of suffering

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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by Seishin » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:11 am

Although I have no stance in this argument, I think it is worth noting that the kalama Sutta was aimed at non-Buddhists

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Re: What would Buddha have thought of Mahayana?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:07 am

nichiren-123 wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:52 pm
So I'm trying to understand how the different teachings relate to each other. I started with tientai's 5 periods but quickly realised that it wasn't historically accurate.
Realizing that the Mahayana doctrines aren't the words of the literal Buddha but later innovations, I wonder what the real Buddha, Sakyamuni would have thought about the Mahayana sutras? Do they hold true to the Buddha's meaning or would he have thought of them as wrong? What do you guys think?
Given that the Buddha taught the Mahayana Sutra Pitaka, I guess he must be okay with it. Do you mean what would he think about later interpretations (by others) of his teachings?
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