Why would people delay buddhahood?

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.
Post Reply
MatthewAngby
Posts: 299
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:51 am

Why would people delay buddhahood?

Post by MatthewAngby » Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:36 am

Can I ask why some of the people delay buddhahood until some of their vows are achieved? Why wouldn’t they want to become a Buddha in the fastest time possible?

Also why would people prefer the gradual path to enlightenment instead of the sudden path?

Varis
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:09 am

Re: Why would people delay buddhahood?

Post by Varis » Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:04 pm

Karma.

User avatar
seeker242
Posts: 1328
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:50 pm
Location: South Florida, USA

Re: Why would people delay buddhahood?

Post by seeker242 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:09 pm

Can I ask why some of the people delay buddhahood until some of their vows are achieved?
The Dalai Lama was asked a similar question and I though his response was pretty good. :smile:
Question: When a practitioner of the Great Vehicle vows not to enter into nirvana until all beings are liberated, how is it possible to fulfill this vow?

Answer: Three modes of generating an altruistic intention to become enlightened are described--like a king, like a boatman, and like a shepherd. In the first, that like a king, one first seeks to attain a high state after which help can be given to others. In the second, like a boatman, one seeks to cross the river of suffering together with others. In the third, like a shepherd, one seeks to relieve the flock of suffering beings from pain first, oneself following afterward. These are indications of the style of the altruistic motivation for becoming enlightened;

In actual fact, there is no way that a Bodhisattva either would want to or could delay achieving full enlightenment. As much as the motivation to help others increases, so much closer does one approach Buddhahood.
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
javier.espinoza.t
Posts: 868
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:29 am
Location: Chile

Re: Why would people delay buddhahood?

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:59 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:09 pm
Can I ask why some of the people delay buddhahood until some of their vows are achieved?
The Dalai Lama was asked a similar question and I though his response was pretty good. :smile:
Question: When a practitioner of the Great Vehicle vows not to enter into nirvana until all beings are liberated, how is it possible to fulfill this vow?

Answer: Three modes of generating an altruistic intention to become enlightened are described--like a king, like a boatman, and like a shepherd. In the first, that like a king, one first seeks to attain a high state after which help can be given to others. In the second, like a boatman, one seeks to cross the river of suffering together with others. In the third, like a shepherd, one seeks to relieve the flock of suffering beings from pain first, oneself following afterward. These are indications of the style of the altruistic motivation for becoming enlightened;

In actual fact, there is no way that a Bodhisattva either would want to or could delay achieving full enlightenment. As much as the motivation to help others increases, so much closer does one approach Buddhahood.
"in the end" what happens with altruistic intention? compounded intentions should dissapear but spontaneous altruism is some sort of agitation or not?

it is very interesting!
Identities are false and not true

pemachophel
Posts: 1204
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:19 pm
Location: Lafayette, CO

Re: Why would people delay buddhahood?

Post by pemachophel » Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:52 pm

although to the person still in the three times, shepherd-like bodhicitta appears, rationally, to be the slowest/longest, it is actually the fastest.

maybe it's because it's easter, but i seem to remember jesus telling his disciples that "the last shall be first."
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

Joseph
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:07 am

Re: Why would people delay buddhahood?

Post by Joseph » Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:56 pm

javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:59 pm
seeker242 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:09 pm
MatthewAngby wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:36 am
Can I ask why some of the people delay buddhahood until some of their vows are achieved?
...
"in the end" what happens with altruistic intention? compounded intentions should dissapear but spontaneous altruism is some sort of agitation or not?

it is very interesting!
Altruism being neither the conception of self or other ? .
Last edited by anjali on Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: quote attributions corrected

WeiHan
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Why would people delay buddhahood?

Post by WeiHan » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:20 pm

MatthewAngby wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:36 am

Also why would people prefer the gradual path to enlightenment instead of the sudden path?
There is really no such thing as a fastest or sudden path. Some people may appear to be enlightened through a fast or sudden path in that life but it is understood that the person have accumulated all the right conditions for the sudden enlightenment in his previous lives. Many people like to believe that they are of the sharpest faculty and i agree there is no harm trying the fast path. However, in the end, the person have to honest with himself whether the "fast" path he has chosen is making him any progress.

User avatar
javier.espinoza.t
Posts: 868
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:29 am
Location: Chile

Re: Why would people delay buddhahood?

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:39 pm

Joseph wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:56 pm
javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:59 pm
seeker242 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:09 pm

...
"in the end" what happens with altruistic intention? compounded intentions should dissapear but spontaneous altruism is some sort of agitation or not?

it is very interesting!
Altruism being neither the conception of self or other ? .
yeah, in mahayana -at least- "self" and "others" are just means to explain, not a fact. so that's my point! it is some marvelous stuff to know that there is no independent entity and at the same time to have altruism towards some sort of entity
Identities are false and not true

Joseph
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:07 am

Re: Why would people delay buddhahood?

Post by Joseph » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:19 pm

javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:39 pm
Joseph wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:56 pm
javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:59 pm

"in the end" what happens with altruistic intention? compounded intentions should dissapear but spontaneous altruism is some sort of agitation or not?

it is very interesting!
Altruism being neither the conception of self or other ? .
yeah, in mahayana -at least- "self" and "others" are just means to explain, not a fact. so that's my point! it is some marvelous stuff to know that there is no independent entity and at the same time to have altruism towards some sort of entity
Marvelous indeed !!
The Dorje Sempa Namkha Che addresses this perfectly I believe. :thumbsup:
:thumbsup:

User avatar
seeker242
Posts: 1328
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:50 pm
Location: South Florida, USA

Re: Why would people delay buddhahood?

Post by seeker242 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:59 pm

javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:59 pm


"in the end" what happens with altruistic intention? compounded intentions should dissapear but spontaneous altruism is some sort of agitation or not?

it is very interesting!
"In the end" as in Buddhahood? I can't imagine there would be any sort of agitation in Buddhahood. :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
Supramundane
Posts: 218
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:38 am
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Re: Why would people delay buddhahood?

Post by Supramundane » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:55 am

MatthewAngby wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:36 am
Can I ask why some of the people delay buddhahood until some of their vows are achieved? Why wouldn’t they want to become a Buddha in the fastest time possible?

Also why would people prefer the gradual path to enlightenment instead of the sudden path?
These are very difficult questions but very stimulating.

Without seeking to cause controversy because i know there are many different doctrinal positions on the following, could it be that the answer pertains to the difference between being enlightened and reaching Buddhahood?

Being enlightened simply means you know the path; you understand the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. It does not mean that you have mastered them.

Once you are enlightened, you can begin down the path to True Buddhahood, to Nirvana.

So there is in fact no question of delay; it is simply two different waypoints on a single journey that we are speaking of.

And on a more mystical note, i suspect that some things cannot adequately be expressed in words when discussing ultimate reality. I suspect that because of the nature of interconnectedness, there is something essential to the idea that any notion of individual enlightenment is an oxymoron and thus impossible.

One becomes a Boddhisatva because there is simply no other way.

WeiHan
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Why would people delay buddhahood?

Post by WeiHan » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:21 am

MatthewAngby wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:36 am
Can I ask why some of the people delay buddhahood until some of their vows are achieved? Why wouldn’t they want to become a Buddha in the fastest time possible?
This is my understanding wrt this question. There are many Bodhisattvas (eg Ksitigarbha) extolled in Sutras that delay Buddhahood until some of their vows are achieved. I think these teachings are making an important point that the bodhicitta mind to enlightened all beings is the most precious, to the point that it is more important than achieving Buddhahood. In Mahayana, attaining Buddhahood can never be a sole goal but a mean to benefit beings in vast absolute way. In Avatamsaka sutra, it is taught that a Bodhisattva who has first give birth to Bodhicitta mind is no different from a Buddha. Their ability to benefit beings is the same as the buddhas. One verse goes as far as to say that the Buddhas are willing to manifest as horses to pull the cart that such a bodhisattva has taken his seat (something of that meaning).

Bristollad
Posts: 416
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:39 am

Re: Why would people delay buddhahood?

Post by Bristollad » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:38 pm

Supramundane wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:55 am
MatthewAngby wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:36 am
Can I ask why some of the people delay buddhahood until some of their vows are achieved? Why wouldn’t they want to become a Buddha in the fastest time possible?

Also why would people prefer the gradual path to enlightenment instead of the sudden path?
These are very difficult questions but very stimulating.

Without seeking to cause controversy because i know there are many different doctrinal positions on the following, could it be that the answer pertains to the difference between being enlightened and reaching Buddhahood?

Being enlightened simply means you know the path; you understand the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. It does not mean that you have mastered them.

Once you are enlightened, you can begin down the path to True Buddhahood, to Nirvana.

So there is in fact no question of delay; it is simply two different waypoints on a single journey that we are speaking of.

And on a more mystical note, i suspect that some things cannot adequately be expressed in words when discussing ultimate reality. I suspect that because of the nature of interconnectedness, there is something essential to the idea that any notion of individual enlightenment is an oxymoron and thus impossible.

One becomes a Boddhisatva because there is simply no other way.
Interesting use of the translation-term enlightened. Which tradition uses it this way? As far as I'm aware, in Western translations from Tibetan Buddhism, an enlightened being is a samyaksaṃbodhi, not merely someone who has ascertained and entered the path.

User avatar
Supramundane
Posts: 218
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:38 am
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Re: Why would people delay buddhahood?

Post by Supramundane » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:40 am

exactly, there seem to be different interpretations of the meaning of enlightenment, nirvana, Buddha, Buddhahood, etc.

if there are clear distinctions, i would be happy to know. however, i suspect that it is a matter of doctrine and varies from school to school.

do you believe they are synonymous?

Bristollad
Posts: 416
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:39 am

Re: Why would people delay buddhahood?

Post by Bristollad » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:13 am

Supramundane wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:40 am
exactly, there seem to be different interpretations of the meaning of enlightenment, nirvana, Buddha, Buddhahood, etc.

if there are clear distinctions, i would be happy to know. however, i suspect that it is a matter of doctrine and varies from school to school.

do you believe they are synonymous?
From the glossary at the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive https://www.lamayeshe.com/glossary/

buddha, a (Skt; Tib: sang-gye)
A fully awakened being. One who has totally eliminated (Tib: sang) all obscurations veiling the mind and has fully developed (Tib: gye) all good qualities to perfection.

enlightenment (Skt: bodhi; Tib: jang-chub)
Full awakening; buddhahood; omniscience. The ultimate goal of a Mahayana Buddhist, attained when all obscurations have been removed and all the qualities of the mind have been fully actualized. It is a state characterized by perfect compassion, wisdom and power. Lama Zopa Rinpoche points out that the Tibetan, jang-chub, is much more precise than the English as the two syllables encompass what enlightenment is: jang meaning “elimination” as in the elimination of all gross and subtle obstacles and chub meaning “development” as in the development of all perfect qualities.

liberation (Skt: nirvana, or moksha; Tib: nyang-dä, or thar-pa)
The state of complete freedom from samsara; the goal of a practitioner seeking his or her own escape from suffering (see also Hinayana). "Lower nirvana" is used to refer to this state of self-liberation, while "higher nirvana" refers to the supreme attainment of the full enlightenment of buddhahood. Natural nirvana (Tib: rang-zhin nyang-dä) is the fundamentally pure nature of reality, where all things and events are devoid of any inherent, intrinsic or independent reality.

cessation with residue (Skt: sopadhishesha-nirvana; Tib: lhak-mä-pai nya-ngen dä)
The attainment of nirvana while still in a contaminated body, hence “with residue” or “with remainder.” One of the three types of nirvana.

cessation without residue (Skt: nirupadhishesha-nirvana; Tib: lhak-chä-pai nya-ngen dä)
The attainment of nirvana once the contaminated body (the residue) perishes, hence “without residue” or “without remainder.” One of the three types of nirvana.

non-abiding nirvana (Skt: apratisthitanirvana; Tib: mi-nä-pai nya-ngen dä)
According to the Prasangika school, the nirvana of a buddha, neither in the extreme of samsara nor in a Hinayana arhat’s nirvana without residue; one of the three types of nirvana, the other two being nirvana (or cessation) with and without residue.

So yes, in the usage I'm familar with, buddhahood and enlightenment are synonyms. Nirvana is slightly more tricky because it can referto liberation from suffering, the state of an arhat or it can refer to the state of a Buddha who has overcome the obscurations to knowledge as well as the afflictions.
Supramundane wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:55 am
Being enlightened simply means you know the path; you understand the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. It does not mean that you have mastered them.

Once you are enlightened, you can begin down the path to True Buddhahood, to Nirvana.
This is simply not how I'm familiar with enlightenment being used. Which Western groups use the translation term enlightenment like this?

User avatar
Supramundane
Posts: 218
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:38 am
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Re: Why would people delay buddhahood?

Post by Supramundane » Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:50 pm

Ah my friend please do not take me as an expert. Most of my comments here are 'thinking out loud' and i am not an expert by any means. In fact, i hope someone will jump in and clarify this issue.
DW is a fantastic learning experience but i do not speak with any authority.

Frankly, enlightenment seems in my mind to blur with tathagatagarbha, dharmakaya, buddhahood, buddhamind, Buddha Nature, Sunyata, Bodhicitta, nirvana, true self, Luminous Mind...

Nevertheless, it seems logical that prajna and cultivation of the jhanas lead to enlightenment. Enlightenment is an extinguishing; however, that does not make one a Buddha.


If you are ask me to disentangle them, not an easy task:)

Let's see:

Buddhahood encompasses the three bodies; tatagatagarbha is the physical one (enlightenment with impurities) (and thus a 'womb'); dharmakaya are the mental ones (enlightenment without impurities).

Therefore Buddhahood does not equal enlightrnment.

Nirvana according to the sutra is simply a type of phenomena...

Buddha Nature and True Self are positive renderings of Sunyata, like opposing mirrors. Though not all Mahayana accept it, the Tatagatagarbha and Uttaratantrasastra sutras complement the Nagarjuna Sunyata school of thought like two sides of one dharmic coin: perhaps they are contradictory but not contradictory (!) ---- complementary.

Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 23 guests