Do Bodhisattvas such as Avalokiteshvara, live in our realm, or do they live outside of samsara?

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
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 6158
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Do Bodhisattvas such as Avalokiteshvara, live in our realm, or do they live outside of samsara?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:48 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:29 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:00 pm
Saying "it has a degree of reality" is problematic because it does not put dualism to rest. I think the correct terminology is "Middle Way".
'A degree of reality' is the nearest approximation in the current English lexicon. A poisonous snake is actually poisonous, and not knowing that might have fatal consequences - even if, like anything else, the snake is 'ultimately non-existent'. This is why 'The Two Truths' is important.

Question: in the Sanskrit terms 'abhidharma' and 'abhijñā ', what is the meaning of the particle, 'abhi'?
The danger of the snake is a different sort of problem than the question of existence or non-existence.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
Posts: 2993
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Do Bodhisattvas such as Avalokiteshvara, live in our realm, or do they live outside of samsara?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:07 pm

Rather than saying that Avalokiteshvara (Manjusri, etc.) exist or don't exist,
which is a hopelessly dualistic way of approaching the whole issue,
Better perhaps, to say, "They are no more real than you are"
because when we ask if something is real or not, to what are we comparing that reality?
Ultimately, asking: "Are they real in the same sense that you and I are real?"
Do they exist? Do you exist?
We can say that outside the mind, they do not exist.
Likewise, outside of the mind, I do not exist.
If you yourself have no intrinsic reality, then what difference does it make regarding them?
But to the degree you think you yourself are real, then that's just how real they are as well.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Fo Ming (Buddha Bright) Monk"
People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 6158
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Do Bodhisattvas such as Avalokiteshvara, live in our realm, or do they live outside of samsara?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Aug 31, 2018 5:26 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:07 pm
Rather than saying that Avalokiteshvara (Manjusri, etc.) exist or don't exist,
which is a hopelessly dualistic way of approaching the whole issue,
Better perhaps, to say, "They are no more real than you are"
because when we ask if something is real or not, to what are we comparing that reality?
Ultimately, asking: "Are they real in the same sense that you and I are real?"
Do they exist? Do you exist?
We can say that outside the mind, they do not exist.
Likewise, outside of the mind, I do not exist.
If you yourself have no intrinsic reality, then what difference does it make regarding them?
But to the degree you think you yourself are real, then that's just how real they are as well.
.
.
.
I don't think that works unless the person already has a correct view of real/unreal.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

User avatar
Sherab
Posts: 1218
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:28 am

Re: Do Bodhisattvas such as Avalokiteshvara, live in our realm, or do they live outside of samsara?

Post by Sherab » Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:56 pm

Norwegian wrote:
Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:55 pm
Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 12:13 am
Dependently existent is madhyamika, is it not? So the domain of samsara is not non-existent, but also not 'truly existent'. It has a degree of reality.
"Dependent existents" is refuted as wrong view in Madhyamaka.

To begin with, the Buddha taught the following [all citations below translated by Malcolm some years ago]:

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one."

Then, following the above, from Nagarjuna's MMK, with commentary by Buddhapalita:

"Explanation: Do not grasp misguided [views]!

Whoever [follows] a view of self-existence, dependent existence,
existents or non-existents,
they do not see the truth
in the Buddha's doctrine.

Someone like that, who [has a] view of self existence, dependent existence, existents and non-existents, they do not see the truth in the profound [dependent origination] as the supreme teaching of the Buddha. We, in the correct way, see the non existence of the self-existence of things which appear because the sun of dependent origination arose. Therefore since we see the truth, liberation can be accepted only for us. If it is asked what is the reason for this, thus:

Because the Bhagavan, showing existents and non-existents,
also negates
both 'is' and 'is not'
in the Katyayana Oral Instruction.

Why? Because the Bhagavan, knowledgeable in the truth of the ultimate, always demonstrating [what is] existent and non-existent, correctly determines both 'is' and 'is not' in the 'Katyayana Oral Instruction' Sutra. Therefore, whoever follows a view for existence or non-existence in existents, because the truth is not seen by them, also liberation cannot be accepted for them. As we do not grasp to 'it is' [or] 'it is not' as conventionally determined, [liberation] is not unacceptable [for us].

If seeing existents and non-existents is seeing the truth, because the truth would never be seen,
[seeing existents and non-existents] is not [seeing] the truth. Therefor, the non-existence of the
self-existence of things is the truth, by seeing only that, will there be liberation."


Unfortunately the translation of Buddhapalita's commentary* is still not yet published, despite it being planned translated (the site of the commentary translation is now defunct). So I guess we will have to wait some more for that one...

(* See here: viewtopic.php?t=17795)
Dependent existence as defined by Nagarjuna requires the dependent object to be dependent on something ultimately real. I am interpreting the usage of dependent existence by Wayfarer as referring to an object that is dependent on something regardless of whether ultimately there is something real at the end.

Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 46 guests