proclaiming awakening

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
clyde
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:17 am
Location: Sacramento, CA
Contact:

proclaiming awakening

Post by clyde » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:10 pm

The Buddha proclaimed that he had awakened and in the Buddha’s first discourse, the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, and many other suttas and sutras, there are accounts of awakening and the presence of arhats.

Yet today, it seems that Buddhist teachers of all traditions (I am reasonably familiar with Vipassana and Zen teachers, less so of Tibetan teachers.) are reluctant to talk about their attainments or that of their students.

This seems counter-productive to me; i.e., why would one engage in a practice who’s goal is not attained, even by their teacher.

Is my observation wrong and if so, how? And if not, why the reluctance?
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

Motova
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:05 pm

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by Motova » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:33 am

clyde wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:10 pm
The Buddha proclaimed that he had awakened and in the Buddha’s first discourse, the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, and many other suttas and sutras, there are accounts of awakening and the presence of arhats.

Yet today, it seems that Buddhist teachers of all traditions (I am reasonably familiar with Vipassana and Zen teachers, less so of Tibetan teachers.) are reluctant to talk about their attainments or that of their students.

This seems counter-productive to me; i.e., why would one engage in a practice who’s goal is not attained, even by their teacher.

Is my observation wrong and if so, how? And if not, why the reluctance?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tert%C3%B6n
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:58 pm
The four means of converting beings to the Dharma are generosity (which itself as four aspects: giving material gifts, conferring fearlessness, loving kindness and teaching Dharma), pleasant speech, conduct and setting an example.

User avatar
Matt J
Posts: 723
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by Matt J » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:35 am

I imagine that the costs outweigh the benefits. If some one claims enlightenment, you either take them at their word or you don't. You can't verify it, so you are no better off with a claim as without. The only real way to verify that a practice works is experientially, through practice. If you trust the teacher you will practice without a claim and if you don't trust the teacher you won't believe them anyway.

As for the negatives, the modern spiritual scene is replete with the problems of claims to enlightenment.
clyde wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:10 pm
The Buddha proclaimed that he had awakened and in the Buddha’s first discourse, the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, and many other suttas and sutras, there are accounts of awakening and the presence of arhats.

Yet today, it seems that Buddhist teachers of all traditions (I am reasonably familiar with Vipassana and Zen teachers, less so of Tibetan teachers.) are reluctant to talk about their attainments or that of their students.

This seems counter-productive to me; i.e., why would one engage in a practice who’s goal is not attained, even by their teacher.

Is my observation wrong and if so, how? And if not, why the reluctance?
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Motova
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:05 pm

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by Motova » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:43 am

https://www.amazon.ca/Wisdom-Forgivenes ... orgiveness

In this the Dalai Lama basically says he is enlightened.
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:58 pm
The four means of converting beings to the Dharma are generosity (which itself as four aspects: giving material gifts, conferring fearlessness, loving kindness and teaching Dharma), pleasant speech, conduct and setting an example.

Norwegian
Posts: 1374
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:36 pm

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by Norwegian » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:47 am

Motova wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:43 am
https://www.amazon.ca/Wisdom-Forgivenes ... orgiveness

In this the Dalai Lama basically says he is enlightened.
I think you should provide us with the exact citation that you are referring to.

Motova
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:05 pm

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by Motova » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:49 am

Norwegian wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:47 am
Motova wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:43 am
https://www.amazon.ca/Wisdom-Forgivenes ... orgiveness

In this the Dalai Lama basically says he is enlightened.
I think you should provide us with the exact citation that you are referring to.
It's at the end when they talk about emptiness in the last few chapters.
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:58 pm
The four means of converting beings to the Dharma are generosity (which itself as four aspects: giving material gifts, conferring fearlessness, loving kindness and teaching Dharma), pleasant speech, conduct and setting an example.

Norwegian
Posts: 1374
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:36 pm

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by Norwegian » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:53 am

Motova wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:49 am
Norwegian wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:47 am
Motova wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:43 am
https://www.amazon.ca/Wisdom-Forgivenes ... orgiveness

In this the Dalai Lama basically says he is enlightened.
I think you should provide us with the exact citation that you are referring to.
It's at the end when they talk about emptiness in the last few chapters.
I don't have that book... So, you know, maybe you could type out what it is that His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, for our benefit.

Motova
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:05 pm

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by Motova » Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:08 am

Norwegian wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:53 am
Motova wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:49 am
Norwegian wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:47 am

I think you should provide us with the exact citation that you are referring to.
It's at the end when they talk about emptiness in the last few chapters.
I don't have that book... So, you know, maybe you could type out what it is that His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, for our benefit.
Maybe later. :smile:
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:58 pm
The four means of converting beings to the Dharma are generosity (which itself as four aspects: giving material gifts, conferring fearlessness, loving kindness and teaching Dharma), pleasant speech, conduct and setting an example.

haha
Posts: 192
Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 3:30 pm

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by haha » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:50 am

Motova wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:43 am

In this the Dalai Lama basically says he is enlightened.
He does not claim such things. But he says he has some experiences and certainty regarding to compassion or bodhicitta as he has been practicing it for such long years.

In this world hatred never ceases with hatred
With non hatred it ceases, this is the ancient lore.

Upakilesasuttaṃ

User avatar
clyde
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:17 am
Location: Sacramento, CA
Contact:

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by clyde » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:54 am

I don’t doubt that the Dalai Lama and some other living Buddhist teachers in all traditions are enlightened, but why the reluctance to say so? The Buddha wasn’t shy about it. We entered the path presumably because we had faith that the Buddha was actually enlightened. I don’t think the five monks who received the Buddha’s first teaching would have believed and followed the Buddha had he said, “Here is a path I believe leads to awakening and the end of suffering, but I’m not.”

So, why shouldn’t living Buddhist teachers acknowledge their attainments?
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

haha
Posts: 192
Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 3:30 pm

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by haha » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:07 am

Being enlighten is one thing, and attaining Samkasambodhi is another thing.

In this world hatred never ceases with hatred
With non hatred it ceases, this is the ancient lore.

Upakilesasuttaṃ

Motova
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:05 pm

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by Motova » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:11 am

clyde wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:54 am
I don’t doubt that the Dalai Lama and some other living Buddhist teachers in all traditions are enlightened, but why the reluctance to say so? The Buddha wasn’t shy about it. We entered the path presumably because we had faith that the Buddha was actually enlightened. I don’t think the five monks who received the Buddha’s first teaching would have believed and followed the Buddha had he said, “Here is a path I believe leads to awakening and the end of suffering, but I’m not.”

So, why shouldn’t living Buddhist teachers acknowledge their attainments?
I have noticed Chogyal Namkai Norbu Rinpoche and Ayang Rinpoche are not that shy about their high capacity....

Phakchok Rinpoche is not shy....
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:58 pm
The four means of converting beings to the Dharma are generosity (which itself as four aspects: giving material gifts, conferring fearlessness, loving kindness and teaching Dharma), pleasant speech, conduct and setting an example.

Motova
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:05 pm

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by Motova » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:17 am

haha wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:50 am
Motova wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:43 am

In this the Dalai Lama basically says he is enlightened.
He does not claim such things. But he says he has some experiences and certainty regarding to compassion or bodhicitta as he has been practicing it for such long years.
He implicitly says so when he discusses his understanding of emptiness at the end. It's hard to miss. :smile:
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:58 pm
The four means of converting beings to the Dharma are generosity (which itself as four aspects: giving material gifts, conferring fearlessness, loving kindness and teaching Dharma), pleasant speech, conduct and setting an example.

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3943
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:22 am

clyde wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:10 pm
Yet today, it seems that Buddhist teachers of all traditions (I am reasonably familiar with Vipassana and Zen teachers, less so of Tibetan teachers) are reluctant to talk about their attainments or that of their students.

This seems counter-productive to me; i.e., why would one engage in a practice who’s goal is not attained, even by their teacher.

Is my observation wrong and if so, how? And if not, why the reluctance?
There's a vinaya rule against speaking of spiritual attainments that one hasn't attained; it's a parajika offence. I think that's one source of reticence. (Although there is a fellow by the name of Daniel Ingram who claims to be an Arhat and that he attained this state at a particular time and date. His claim been discussed here and on the other Wheel over the years.)

Another point is, when the Buddha talks in the first person, he's really referring to himself as Tathagatha, 'thus gone'. When speaking as the Tathagatha, he will generally say 'the Tathagatha says such and such'. When he refers to himself as the person, Guatama, for instance in the dialogue when he speaks of his advancing age and the condition of the body 'like a patched up cart', then he speaks in the first person.

So you can think of the Buddha's declaration of his enlightenment as the canonical form of enlightenment for all Buddhists.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

User avatar
clyde
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:17 am
Location: Sacramento, CA
Contact:

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by clyde » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:56 am

Wayfarer; Thank you for your post.
Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:22 am
There's a vinaya rule against speaking of spiritual attainments that one hasn't attained; it's a parajika offence.
Of course, it’s Wrong Speech. But the rule doesn’t apply to spiritual attainments that one has attained.

About your other point, I was vaguely aware of the Buddha’s use of Tathagatha to refer to himself, but not the distinctions you noted. Thank you.

And I get your last point.

Still, I don’t feel it addresses the issue. The Buddha openly acknowledged his awakening and often spoke of others, sometimes hundreds of others, who were awakened, some of whom taught the Buddha’s Dharma. I don’t know if the Buddha thought the others’ awakenings were equal to his or lesser, and that isn’t the point.

Maybe our teachers aren’t Buddhas and haven’t attained the highest achievement in our tradition’s teachings. That’s OK with me. But is there a compelling reason that teachers should not share with their students what they have attained?

Or they are Buddhas and have attained the highest achievement. How wonderful would that be?!
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

User avatar
cyril
Posts: 119
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:47 am

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by cyril » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:14 am

clyde wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:56 am
But is there a compelling reason that teachers should not share with their students what they have attained?
If disclosing what they have attained benefits the student, I imagine they would do so. But it could be that most often, that doesn't benefit the student at all. Just curious, how would you react if your own teacher would reveal to you that he's actually a Buddha?
"You have to make the good out of the bad because that is all you have got to make it out of."
- Robert Penn Warren -

amanitamusc
Posts: 1151
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:32 am

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by amanitamusc » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:34 am

I heard Garchen Rinpoche said that he does not have much realization or some such
words but he is beyond all suffering.
Tibetan Lama's have this style so it seems.Humble.

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3943
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:51 am

I’m a bit uncomfortable with the whole idea of ‘attainment’. Actually I borrowed a book from the library once, and although I don’t remember much about it, it had an aphorism in the flyleaf in some strange language, the translation of which was given as ‘the unattainable is attained by non-attainment’. [It wasn’t a Buddhist book but I thought it was a very Buddhist expression.]
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

haha
Posts: 192
Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 3:30 pm

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by haha » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:20 am

Here is a Vinaya rule:
Source: http://en.dhammadana.org/sangha/vinaya/227/92pa.htm
pācittiya 8
"yo pana bhikkhu anupasampannassa uttarimanussadhammaṃ āroceyya, bhūtasmiṃ pācittiyaṃ."
Not to announce to a layman a realisation that has been achieved. If a bhikkhu announces to a layman or to a sāmaṇera, a realisation partaking with a jhāna nature or with a stage of ariyā, and this realisation has genuinely been achieved, he commits a pācittiya.
On the other hand, a bhikkhu who makes such a declaration, while knowing it to be false, commits the pārājika 4. A bhikkhu must avoid making his attainments known, even to other bhikkhus. Apart from four exceptions when they can do so, ariyās never unveil their realisations:
Under a violent threat.
Undergoing an oppressive and virulent lack of respect.
A t the time of passing away.
To reveal it to his preceptor or to a fellow bhikkhu who does a similar practice.
For Mahayana:
Some remarks from The Vimalakirti Sutra:Chapter 7

Sariputra: Since liberation is inexpressible, goddess, I do not know what to say.
Goddess: All the syllables pronounced by the elder have the nature of liberation. Why? Liberation is neither internal nor external, nor can it be apprehended apart from them. Likewise, syllables are neither internal nor external, nor can they be apprehended anywhere else. Therefore, reverend Sariputra, do not point to liberation by abandoning speech! Why? The holy liberation is the equality of all things!


Sariputra: Excellent! Excellent, goddess! Pray, what have you attained, what have you realized, that you have such eloquence?
Goddess: I have attained nothing, reverend Sariputra. I have no realization. Therefore I have such eloquence. Whoever thinks, "I have attained! I have realized!" is overly proud in the discipline of the well-taught Dharma.


Sariputra: It is attained, because there is no attainment.
Goddess: Just so, there is perfect enlightenment because there is no attainment of perfect enlightenment.
If someone says that he is enlightened, then one should ask him some questions. Has his eye got enlightened or nose got enlightened or head got enlightened or mind got enlightened and so no? It is just to poke fun at him.

There is an interesting analogy presenting in The Jaiminiya or Talavakara Upanisad Brahmana or Kena Upanisad for impressibility for attainment or knowing.

In this world hatred never ceases with hatred
With non hatred it ceases, this is the ancient lore.

Upakilesasuttaṃ

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6963
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: proclaiming awakening

Post by Astus » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:53 am

clyde wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:10 pm
The Buddha proclaimed
The regular affirmation of the Buddha's enlightenment all over the sutras is not really about what he claimed but about affirming Buddhism as true. That is why you can find that statements about the Buddha come to be grander and grander as you go from the Nikayas towards the Tantras.
reluctant to talk about their attainments or that of their students
There is little need for that when the system does that for you. For instance, a Zen master is supposed to be an equal of the Buddha by the fact of being affirmed as a Dharma heir; similarly, a tulku - i.e. nirmanakaya, or the telling Chinese term "living Buddha" (huofo 活佛) - is a fairly obvious expression defining the status of someone as enlightened.
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"

Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Tenma and 37 guests