Arhat turning to Mahayana

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jhanapeacock
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by jhanapeacock » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:39 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:18 pm
it is made clear that someone who is an arhat who enters the Mahayana path takes longer to become fully enlightened than one who enters the Mahayana path directly. Why? Because even an arhat who enters the Mahayana path before they die in that same life has the habit to enter meditative equipoise for long periods rather than working for the benefit of all sentient beings. Hence it takes them longer to complete the two collections of merit and wisdom than someone who was definite in the Mahayana lineage from the beginning of the path.
Thank you, that is a very interesting point. I think tho that many of those conjetures are still based on sectarianism. Those tendencies of the arhat to meditate more and to observe the precepts and follow the eightfold path wouln´t help him to purify his karma, develop his wisdom and perfect the paramitas at greater rates that someone who is caught in delusion? That seems the case from my perspective.

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Caoimhghín
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Caoimhghín » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:44 pm

jhanapeacock wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:12 pm
Bodhisattvas are Mahayana practitioners who have generated Bodhicitta based on great compassion for all sentient beings and thus aspire to attain the state of a Buddha in order to be of the utmost benefit to all beings.

They can also be categorized into: (1) ordinary Bodhisattvas and (2) Arya Bodhisattvas. Ordinary Bodhisattvas are Mahayana practitioners on the Mahayana paths of accumulation or preparation. Arya Bodhisattvas are Bodhisattvas on the Mahayana paths of seeing or meditation. There are no Arya Bodhisattvas on the Mahayana path of no-more-learning, for Aryas on that path are necessarily Arya Buddhas.

Please note that Bodhisattvas who have attained the wisdom directly realizing emptiness are not necessarily Arya Bodhisattvas, for there are Bodhisattvas on the Mahayana path of accumulation or preparation who have attained the wisdom that directly realizes emptiness because there are Hinayana Arhats who achieved self-liberation before they entered into the Mahayana path and became Bodhisattva
Thank you, this support the thesis that Arhats start from the path of accumulation after they develop bodhicitta.
Well, perhaps, but it's also perhaps more ambiguous and complicated then that, which is why it's a tricky issue that probably no one here is qualified to directly opine on, having to resort to secondhand materials.

Venerable Kelsang Wangmo reports "that Bodhisattvas who have attained the wisdom directly realizing emptiness are not necessarily Arya Bodhisattvas, for there are Bodhisattvas on the Mahayana path of accumulation or preparation who have attained the wisdom that directly realizes emptiness because there are Hinayana Arhats who achieved self-liberation before they entered into the Mahayana path and became Bodhisattva."

When I read "the wisdom directly realizing emptiness," I recognize that as at least the approach to the first bhūmi, if not a vague description of the bhūmi itself. So this places "Hinayana Arhats who achieved self-liberation before they entered into the Mahayana path and became Bodhisattva" in a curious position. Did these arhats' stream-entry retroactively become their first bhūmi? And if it did, do they proceed on the path of seeing? So many things are unclear from just these meagre resources.

It's a bhūmimarga question, and would likely have to be answered by someone schooled in that tradition extensively. There are numerous schemata though, where the four people of the path (stream-entrant, etc.) are mapped onto the bodhisattva bhūmis, that are produced by Buddhist philosophers of Medieval India, to say nothing of texts tracing themselves back to the Buddha or Venerable Nāgārjuna, the Medieval ones arising IMO likely because there were more śrāvakas converting to Mahāyāna at the time, and they suited a need.
歸命本覺心法身常住妙法心蓮臺本來莊嚴三身徳三十七尊住心
城遠離因果法然具普門塵數諸三昧無邊徳海本圓滿還我頂禮心諸佛

In reverence for the root gnosis of the heart, the dharmakāya,
for the ever present good law of the heart, the lotus terrace,
for the inborn adornment of the trikāya, the thirty-seven sages dwelling in the heart,
for that which is removed from seed and fruit, the upright key to the universal gate,
for all boundless concentrations, the sea of virtue, the root perfection,
I prostrate, bowing to the hearts of all Buddhas.

胎藏金剛菩提心義略問答鈔, Treatise on the teaching of the gnostic heart of the womb and the diamond, T2397.1.470c5-8

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Caoimhghín
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Caoimhghín » Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:27 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:18 pm
Huifeng is commenting based on the idea that there are three final paths.

In Tibet, only the Chittamatrins amongst the Mahayana tenet holders, are said to hold that position. The Abhisamayalamkara, one of five texts of Maitreya, holds that though there are indeed three paths, there is only one final result (at least as interpreted by Haribhadra). Hearer and solitary-realiser foe-destroyers will sooner or later enter the Mahayana, become bodhisattvas and complete the path to full enlightenment. This is the position held by the four main schools in Tibet.

Since the number of lives it takes for a sravaka to complete their path to arhatship is comparably much shorter, we might think it's a short cut.
However, in the Abhisamayalamkara, it is made clear that someone who is an arhat who enters the Mahayana path takes longer to become fully enlightened than one who enters the Mahayana path directly. Why? Because even an arhat who enters the Mahayana path before they die in that same life has the habit to enter meditative equipoise for long periods rather than working for the benefit of all sentient beings. Hence it takes them longer to complete the two collections of merit and wisdom than someone who was definite in the Mahayana lineage from the beginning of the path.
Do you happen to know where in Abhisamayālaṁkāra we can find this? I'm wondering if I can find the passage in Conze's Mahāprajñāpāramitāsūtra with Abhisamayālaṁkāra and then also have what Abhisamayālaṁkāra is commenting on for extra context.
歸命本覺心法身常住妙法心蓮臺本來莊嚴三身徳三十七尊住心
城遠離因果法然具普門塵數諸三昧無邊徳海本圓滿還我頂禮心諸佛

In reverence for the root gnosis of the heart, the dharmakāya,
for the ever present good law of the heart, the lotus terrace,
for the inborn adornment of the trikāya, the thirty-seven sages dwelling in the heart,
for that which is removed from seed and fruit, the upright key to the universal gate,
for all boundless concentrations, the sea of virtue, the root perfection,
I prostrate, bowing to the hearts of all Buddhas.

胎藏金剛菩提心義略問答鈔, Treatise on the teaching of the gnostic heart of the womb and the diamond, T2397.1.470c5-8

Bristollad
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Bristollad » Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:35 pm

jhanapeacock wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:39 pm
Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:18 pm
it is made clear that someone who is an arhat who enters the Mahayana path takes longer to become fully enlightened than one who enters the Mahayana path directly. Why? Because even an arhat who enters the Mahayana path before they die in that same life has the habit to enter meditative equipoise for long periods rather than working for the benefit of all sentient beings. Hence it takes them longer to complete the two collections of merit and wisdom than someone who was definite in the Mahayana lineage from the beginning of the path.
Thank you, that is a very interesting point. I think tho that many of those conjetures are still based on sectarianism. Those tendencies of the arhat to meditate more and to observe the precepts and follow the eightfold path wouln´t help him to purify his karma, develop his wisdom and perfect the paramitas at greater rates that someone who is caught in delusion? That seems the case from my perspective.
Bodhisattvas are also described as following the precepts, meditating on the four noble truths including the 8-fold path and developing śamatha and vipaśyanā. Actually, in the Abhisamayalamkara, it is Bodhisattvas who are presented as being the greater practitioners of meditation rather than the Arhats. Because of this mastery, they do not develop the habit of dropping into meditative equipoise. They enter and exit by choice only. This is so because they take on the task of fully studying and mastering all paths so that they can better help everyone whereas an Arhat's emphasis and motivation are to master just enough to achieve his own liberation from suffering.

SteRo
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:01 pm

I respect the Theravada as I respect the Mahayana. I do not equate 'sravaka path' with 'Theravada path'. From my perspective there are sravakas and bodhisattvas in both, Theravada and Mahayana.

An Arhat is by definition "totally unbound":
For him — thus knowing, thus seeing — the mind is released from the effluent of sensuality, the effluent of becoming, the effluent of ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'
Now an Arhat who has completed the sravaka path, is "totally unbound", why should such an Arhat turn to the Mahayana path ? Through "exhortation by a Buddha" ... whatever this means.

But this "turning to the Mahayana path" can only take place if there is already mind of enlightenment. Otherwise there is no stirring. By definition "mind of enlightenment" = Mahayana practitioner.
Now the Arhat is a Mahayana practitioner but an Arhat can't practice a path with effluents because he is "totally unbound":
"And what is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are contemplatives & brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.

"And what is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening, the path factor of right view[1] in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

Therefore the idea that an Arhat will have to start collecting merit like a "worldling" simply because of generating the mind of enlightenment needs to be critically investigated because an Arhat can only practice a path without effluents.

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Caoimhghín
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Caoimhghín » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:23 pm

SteRo wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:01 pm
Now an Arhat who has completed the sravaka path, is "totally unbound", why should such an Arhat turn to the Mahayana path ?
Possibly, somehow, a bodhisattva mindset has blossomed in the arhat in question with aspirations to anuttarā samyaksaṁbuddhahood instead of śrāvaka buddhahood (arhatva).
SteRo wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:01 pm
But this "turning to the Mahayana path" can only take place if there is already mind of enlightenment. Otherwise there is no stirring. By definition "mind of enlightenment" = Mahayana practitioner.
One thing I see wrong with this: If "turning to the Mahayana path can only take place if there is already mind of enlightenment," then ordinary beings without a mind of enlightenment would never be able to become Mahāyānikas.
歸命本覺心法身常住妙法心蓮臺本來莊嚴三身徳三十七尊住心
城遠離因果法然具普門塵數諸三昧無邊徳海本圓滿還我頂禮心諸佛

In reverence for the root gnosis of the heart, the dharmakāya,
for the ever present good law of the heart, the lotus terrace,
for the inborn adornment of the trikāya, the thirty-seven sages dwelling in the heart,
for that which is removed from seed and fruit, the upright key to the universal gate,
for all boundless concentrations, the sea of virtue, the root perfection,
I prostrate, bowing to the hearts of all Buddhas.

胎藏金剛菩提心義略問答鈔, Treatise on the teaching of the gnostic heart of the womb and the diamond, T2397.1.470c5-8

jhanapeacock
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by jhanapeacock » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:26 pm

SteRo wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:01 pm
I respect the Theravada as I respect the Mahayana. I do not equate 'sravaka path' with 'Theravada path'. From my perspective there are sravakas and bodhisattvas in both, Theravada and Mahayana.

An Arhat is by definition "totally unbound":
For him — thus knowing, thus seeing — the mind is released from the effluent of sensuality, the effluent of becoming, the effluent of ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'
Now an Arhat who has completed the sravaka path, is "totally unbound", why should such an Arhat turn to the Mahayana path ? Through "exhortation by a Buddha" ... whatever this means.

But this "turning to the Mahayana path" can only take place if there is already mind of enlightenment. Otherwise there is no stirring. By definition "mind of enlightenment" = Mahayana practitioner.
Now the Arhat is a Mahayana practitioner but an Arhat can't practice a path with effluents because he is "totally unbound":
"And what is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are contemplatives & brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.

"And what is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening, the path factor of right view[1] in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

Therefore the idea that an Arhat will have to start collecting merit like a "worldling" simply because of generating the mind of enlightenment needs to be critically investigated because an Arhat can only practice a path without effluents.
My original question is from Mahayana POV, more specifically from Ekayana teachings POV. So arhats are not unbound. And this is not a matter of respect, is a matter of context.
So you are saying that arhants can´t generate new merit because they have cut all possible upcoming effluents that results in positive karma? but this is from theravada POV, if im not mistaked from Mahayana POV after the Arhat awakens the mind of enlightenment his citta (who before was contaminated by clinging now is free) is permeated by compassion, so this compassion becomes the cause for which the Arhant generates new effluents.

SteRo
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:41 pm

Caoimhghín wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:23 pm
SteRo wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:01 pm
Now an Arhat who has completed the sravaka path, is "totally unbound", why should such an Arhat turn to the Mahayana path ?
Possibly, somehow, a bodhisattva mindset has blossomed in the arhat in question with aspirations to anuttarā samyaksaṁbuddhahood instead of śrāvaka buddhahood (arhatva).
'blossomed' ... I like that.
Caoimhghín wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:23 pm
SteRo wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:01 pm
But this "turning to the Mahayana path" can only take place if there is already mind of enlightenment. Otherwise there is no stirring. By definition "mind of enlightenment" = Mahayana practitioner.
One thing I see wrong with this: If "turning to the Mahayana path can only take place if there is already mind of enlightenment," then ordinary beings without a mind of enlightenment would never be able to become Mahāyānikas.
I don't see it that way. Ordinary beings are naturally biased towards selfish motivations. Therefore if they belong to the lineage of bodhisattvas they will work with right effort to generate that mind of enlightenment. Only if they achieve stable mind of enlightenment - which they will achive if they belong to the lineage of bodhisattvas - they are Mahāyānikas. If they don't achieve that stable mind they are not of the lineage of bodhisattvas independent of peer pressure or the like.
An Arhat is free from both, selfish motivations and altruistic motivations. There is no stirring that might cause any effort as to entering a path. Therefore without mind of enlightenment no path will be entered.

SteRo
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:04 pm

jhanapeacock wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:26 pm
My original question is from Mahayana POV, more specifically from Ekayana teachings POV. So arhats are not unbound. And this is not a matter of respect, is a matter of context.
There is difference between being "totally unbound" and being teacher of humans and gods. From a Mahayana POV an Arhat may be "totally unbound" like Theravada claims but is not able to teach like a Buddha and thus may not benefit all beings.
jhanapeacock wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:26 pm
So you are saying that arhants can´t generate new merit because they have cut all possible upcoming effluents that results in positive karma? but this is from theravada POV
Arhats do not accumulate any karma at all anymore and this can also be found in Mahayana teachings.
jhanapeacock wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:26 pm
, if im not mistaked from Mahayana POV after the Arhat awakens the mind of enlightenment his citta (who before was contaminated by clinging now is free) is permeated by compassion, so this compassion becomes the cause for which the Arhant generates new effluents.
This is not in line with prajnaparamita teachings because an Arhat that exceptionally would generate a mind of enlightenment would necessarily generate prajnaparamita on that basis. But it may be in line with Mahayana teachings other than prajnaparamita ...?

Bristollad
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Bristollad » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:13 pm

Caoimhghín wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:27 pm
Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:18 pm
Huifeng is commenting based on the idea that there are three final paths.

In Tibet, only the Chittamatrins amongst the Mahayana tenet holders, are said to hold that position. The Abhisamayalamkara, one of five texts of Maitreya, holds that though there are indeed three paths, there is only one final result (at least as interpreted by Haribhadra). Hearer and solitary-realiser foe-destroyers will sooner or later enter the Mahayana, become bodhisattvas and complete the path to full enlightenment. This is the position held by the four main schools in Tibet.

Since the number of lives it takes for a sravaka to complete their path to arhatship is comparably much shorter, we might think it's a short cut.
However, in the Abhisamayalamkara, it is made clear that someone who is an arhat who enters the Mahayana path takes longer to become fully enlightened than one who enters the Mahayana path directly. Why? Because even an arhat who enters the Mahayana path before they die in that same life has the habit to enter meditative equipoise for long periods rather than working for the benefit of all sentient beings. Hence it takes them longer to complete the two collections of merit and wisdom than someone who was definite in the Mahayana lineage from the beginning of the path.
Do you happen to know where in Abhisamayālaṁkāra we can find this? I'm wondering if I can find the passage in Conze's Mahāprajñāpāramitāsūtra with Abhisamayālaṁkāra and then also have what Abhisamayālaṁkāra is commenting on for extra context.
I just wrote a nice long post explaining how complicated it is but it got eaten by the internet. It's the fourth topic of the knower of all aspects v1:39 ish I think. It's complicated because when it's studied, we normally have 3 texts - (1) the root verses (2) the root verses interspersed with Haribhadra's short commentary (not the long or the very short one) and with Gyaltsab Je's commentary to Haribhadra and (3) Jetsunpa's General Meaning commentary giving the positions accepted as "our system" at Sera Je. These texts were taught and explained, expanded on by my teacher who would sometimes include interesting/helpful alternative positions accepted at the other monasteries (i.e. from Jamyang Shayba and Panchen Sonam Dragpa, also he quite liked a commentarial text from a Mongolian geshe explaining Jetsunpa too).

SteRo
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:26 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:13 pm
It's complicated because when it's studied, we normally have 3 texts - (1) the root verses (2) the root verses interspersed with Haribhadra's short commentary (not the long or the very short one) and with Gyaltsab Je's commentary to Haribhadra and (3) Jetsunpa's General Meaning commentary giving the positions accepted as "our system" at Sera Je. These texts were taught and explained, expanded on by my teacher who would sometimes include interesting/helpful alternative positions accepted at the other monasteries (i.e. from Jamyang Shayba and Panchen Sonam Dragpa, also he quite liked a commentarial text from a Mongolian geshe explaining Jetsunpa too).
Does that refer to traditional Gelug studies? I think so.

I actually prefer Arya Vimuktisena over Haribhadra and - that might be the 'Mongolian geshe' ??? - Ngag-wang-pal-dan’s "Explanation of the Treatise ORNAMENT FOR THE CLEAR REALIZATIONS" (see https://uma-tibet.org/)

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Caoimhghín
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Caoimhghín » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:35 pm

While trying to find the source of what I thought I had read of Ven Tsongkhapa's teaching, namely concerning the bodhisattva grounds of the arhat on terms of liberation and wisdom respectively, I had stumbled upon this text by a Venerable Anyen, and it has a passage that intersects that seems directly relevant to this thread, but not what I was originally looking for:

https://books.google.ca/books?id=g0M6Aw ... mi&f=false
All Three Vehicles Are Equal on the Path of Seeing

[...] let's examine this question: Is the abandonment and realization on the path of seeing equal for the shravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and Mahayana Buddhist practitioners?

Mipham Rinpoche says that this is illogical. Let's just think about it from an ordinary point of view. Each of the five paths is distinct. To move from one path to the next, we have to abandon certain things and realize certain things, or we cannot be said to have attained the qualities of the next path. On the third path, the path of seeing, all the coarse afflictive emotions are abandoned. The realization attained is called the "wisdom of the path of seeing" and it enables us to abandon the root of samsara. However, a number of faults or logical contradictions will arise if we assert that this happens for all the schools in the same way while on this path.

First, Mipham Rinpoche begins by giving a scriptural presentation. The Prajnaparamita, the teachings of the Secret Mantrayana, and the sutras, and the tantras all say there are differences in the abandonment and realization of the paths of the three vehicles. So the assertion is contradictory to these texts on its face.

One reason that Mipham Rinpoche states this is because we describe the teachings of the first turning of the wheel of Dharma as interpretable, or requiring explanation. In other words, they are conventional teachings. The second and third turnings of the wheel of Dharma contain what are called definitive teachings. These are the teachings on ultimate reality. We call these self-apparent teachings, as their meaning does not need interpretation.

Mipham Rinpoche says that if the assertion of the Later Scholars were true, we would have to reclassify the definitive teachings of the Prajnaparamita, the Vajrayana, and even the Mahayana sutras as interpretable teachings. This is because all of these present the realization on the various paths of seeing as being in distinct levels. Thus, to interpret them as being the same would be to treat them as interpretable rather than definite teachings.

Mipham Rinpoche goes on to reason that the assertion of the Later Scholars creates another complication. These teachings generally state that once the shravakas and pratyekabuddhas attain liberation from samsara, which is the result of their path, they then have to enter the Mahayana path from the beginning in order to attain the complete result of buddhahood. But if they have already attained the result of the path of seeing - liberation from samsara - and the realization of the Hinayana path is the same as the Mahayana path of seeing, there is no need for them to enter the Mahayana path from the beginning. They would start at the fourth of the Mahayana paths because they have already finished the first three while practicing the Hinayana vehicle.

Based on this logic, we might wonder, "I know that practitioners on the Hinayana path have abandoned their attachment to a self, so why can't they just start purifying the cognitive obscurations right where they are? Why do they have to start the Mahayana path from the beginning?

But this possibility is complicated by the way that Tsongkhapa and his followers teach the path. Tsongkhapa asserts that there are seven impure bhumis, and that a practitioner starts to abandon the cognitive obscurations when they reach the eighth bhumi. The logical flaw is that if the three vehicles are equal in realization at the path of seeing, then there is nothing to abandon at all on the first seven bhumis of the Mahayana path, because it was already abandoned on the Hinayana path. Then, finally, on the eighth bhumi, an arhat will start abandoning the cognitive obscurations.

The Dull Ones Become Sharp

Another interesting result is, if you accept the position of the Later Scholars, "the ones with dull faculties become sharp, and the ones with sharp faculties become dull." Mipham Rinpoche explains this logical consequence by saying that the shravakas and pratyekabuddhas are said to attain the realization of their path in seven lifetimes once they enter the path of accumulation, after which they will attain the state of an arhat. That means in about seven lifetimes, they will attain the level of the path of seeing on the Mahayana path. In the Mahayana path, it is taught that it takes endless kalpas - aeons - to attain this state. So if you accept this position, then the path of the shravakas and pratyekabuddhas becomes the quick path, and the Mahayana path becomes the long path.

Je Tsongkhapa answers these critiques by saying that the arhats have not perfected all of the necessary qualities in the first to the seventh bhumis. For example, they have not accumulated enough merit, they do not have the proper kind of compassion, they do not have Mahayana bodhichitta, and they have not habituated themselves to the Mahayana teachings on the Prajnaparamita.

Mipham Rinpoche makes a joke at the end of this section in the root text. He says, "When the sun is shining brightly, isn't it incredible that you still need a candle to dispel the darkness?" This has to do with the Later Scholars' assertion that arhats already possess the antidote of wisdom on the seventh bhumi, but are unable to use it to abandon the cognitive obscurations. Mipham Rinpoche is really saying, sort of incredulously, "You already have wisdom, but you still need to develop compassion and bodhichitta, accumulate merit, and habuate to the Prajnaparamita?" Khenpo Kunpal also says in the commentary, "When the sun appears perfectly free of clouds, it is laughable that it would be necessary to rely on a candle to dispel the body of darkness."
(Venerable Anyen, Journey to Certainty: The Quintessence of the Dzogchen View: An Exploration of Mipham's Beacon of Certainty)

There is a lot here I am not really that familiar with. Who are the "Later Scholars?"

Is anyone here familiar with Ngeshé Drönmé/Beacon of Certainty? That text is that is being commented upon here, maybe someone else can give us more context?
歸命本覺心法身常住妙法心蓮臺本來莊嚴三身徳三十七尊住心
城遠離因果法然具普門塵數諸三昧無邊徳海本圓滿還我頂禮心諸佛

In reverence for the root gnosis of the heart, the dharmakāya,
for the ever present good law of the heart, the lotus terrace,
for the inborn adornment of the trikāya, the thirty-seven sages dwelling in the heart,
for that which is removed from seed and fruit, the upright key to the universal gate,
for all boundless concentrations, the sea of virtue, the root perfection,
I prostrate, bowing to the hearts of all Buddhas.

胎藏金剛菩提心義略問答鈔, Treatise on the teaching of the gnostic heart of the womb and the diamond, T2397.1.470c5-8

Bristollad
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Bristollad » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:40 pm

Review notes from when I was studying this topic:

Sutra passages proving that there is only one final vehicle
The following sutra passages explain that there is only one final vehicle

1. The Descent into Lanka (Lankavatara) Sutra says: “Mahamati, those of the hearer vehicle are not liberated by the hearer's vehicle; for them, it is the finality of the Mahayana.”
This means that hearers are not ultimately liberated by the hearer's vehicle; they are ultimately liberated by the Mahayana.

2. The White Lotus (Pundarika) Sutra says: “The three vehicles taught by the great sage is a skilful means of the guides. There is one vehicle; it is not that there are two. For the sake of respite, three vehicles were taught”
This means that the teaching of three final vehicles was only a skilful means. This was taught to giving respite to the intended disciples – i.e., making them restful/relaxed; some are tired of samsara and are interested in reaching a final liberation from suffering where they can rest. But there is only one final vehicle. After they have achieved liberation, the White Lotus Sutra says that they will be told that they have reached the liberation from afflictions but they have not achieved the complete scope.
This is illustrated by the following story: In the past people would go to distant places to mine jewels. During the long way, a bodhisattva who was among them miraculously manifested an island where they could rest for a while before moving further towards their final destination.

3. The Glorious Lion's Roar of Shrimaladevi (Shrimaladevisimhanada) Sutra says: “This 'thoroughly passing beyond sorrow' is a method of the tathagathas.”

4. Another sutra says: “Manjushri, if the tathagatas were to teach the Mahayana to some, the hearer's vehicle and solitary realizers vehicle to some, it follows:”
◦ “(i) that the tathagatas' exalted minds would be completely impure, ”because they would teach the Mahayana only to some"
◦ “(ii) that they would have the fault of adherence,”
i.e., they would be partial
◦ “(iii) that they would have trifling great compassion,”
i.e., they would have “great compassion” that is partial – i.e., they would only have compassion for some but not for others
◦ “(iv) that they would discriminate as different, and”
i.e., they would feel close to some but not close to others
◦ (v) that they would be masters who are stingy in regard to the Dharma”
i.e., they would be unwilling to reveal the complete dharma to everyone.
Since these five faults do not apply, it is taught that the three lineage bearers are lead by the Buddhas to the same state that they have found themselves.

Reasonings proving that there is only one final vehicle
• dharmadhatu – the natural purity, which is the absence of true existence – exists in all sentient beings.
• The erroneous apprehension of dharmadhatu, which apprehends phenomena like the aggregates as truly existent, and which is the root of the afflictions, is like the apprehension of a coiled rope as if it were a snake – it is erroneous and has an unstable root (i.e., it is a mistaken conception that has no basis in reality). This conception arises adventitiously (i.e., it is not an inseparable part of the mind) and (because it is in contradiction with reality) it is suitable to be eliminated by its antidote.
• Since the stains of the conception of true existence of all sentient beings can be abandoned, then the knowledge obscurations (note that this presentation is based on the Svatantrika position, according to which the conception of true existence is a knowledge obscuration) in the continuum of hearer and solitary realizer foe destroyers cannot be unsuitable to be abandoned.
“In addition, the activities of the Buddhas that teach these methods (to abandon the knowledge obscurations) should not be discarded.” (i.e., all sentient beings are affected by the activity of the buddhas)
• The teaching that there are three final vehicles is only a skilful means, similar to the story of a bodhisattva ship-captain who emanated an island where travellers can rest before they continue to the destination of their journey.

To summarize: Since other-powered and thoroughly established phenomena are not truly established, therefore contaminants do not exist in the mind by (their own) nature. Therefore, these contaminants have no basis in reality and can be removed by an antidote. Furthermore, the spontaneous enlightened activity of the Buddhas, who teach the methods to remove the knowledge obscurations is suitable to affect the mental continuum.

So, on the one hand, there is the “seed” (of enlightenment) on the side of sentient beings because all of them possess buddha lineage
• And on the other hand, there are the conditions for ripening, because the buddhas teach the methods to remove (the knowledge obscurations).
For these reasons, every being can attain enlightenment.
◦ In the Golden Rosary, Je Tsongkhapa explains that all beings possess buddha lineage and therefore they all can attain enlightenment. But this does not mean that it is certain that each of them will attain enlightenment. Therefore, according to Tsongkhapa there is no end of samsara in general and no end of sentient beings in general. There is an end to a specific being's samsara but there is no end of samsara in general. And end of samsara, in general, would be if all sentient beings have attained (at least) the state of a foe destroyer.
◦ On the other hand, the Uttaratantra says that 1.) the enlightened activity of the buddhas equally “pervades” (i.e., affects) all sentient beings, 2.) that all sentient beings equally possess buddha nature and 3.) that the minds of all sentient beings are equally empty of being truly established. Because of these three reasons, it says there, there will be a time when all beings definitely will be enlightened.
Gyeltsab Je's Ornament of the Essence also says that all sentient beings will be enlightened and that therefore there is an end to samsara in general

Bristollad
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Bristollad » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:50 pm

SteRo wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:26 pm
Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:13 pm
It's complicated because when it's studied, we normally have 3 texts - (1) the root verses (2) the root verses interspersed with Haribhadra's short commentary (not the long or the very short one) and with Gyaltsab Je's commentary to Haribhadra and (3) Jetsunpa's General Meaning commentary giving the positions accepted as "our system" at Sera Je. These texts were taught and explained, expanded on by my teacher who would sometimes include interesting/helpful alternative positions accepted at the other monasteries (i.e. from Jamyang Shayba and Panchen Sonam Dragpa, also he quite liked a commentarial text from a Mongolian geshe explaining Jetsunpa too).
Does that refer to traditional Gelug studies? I think so.

I actually prefer Arya Vimuktisena over Haribhadra and - that might be the 'Mongolian geshe' ??? - Ngag-wang-pal-dan’s "Explanation of the Treatise ORNAMENT FOR THE CLEAR REALIZATIONS" (see https://uma-tibet.org/)
Yes, this is how it's studied in the Gelug tradition - Arya Vimuktisena is sometimes quoted and his position accepted or dismissed by Haribhadra. If I remember rightly, Arya Vimuktisena is normally identified as a Chittamatrin follower of Asanga (i.e. of those who advocate 3 final vehicles) whereas Haribhadra is identified as a Yogacarya Svatantrika Madhyamika (who accept there is one final vehicle).

Re: the Mongolian geshe: No, I can't remember his name - but his commentary was on Jetsunpa's General Meaning rather than the root verses, Haribhadra or Gyaltsab Je. Our teacher also occasionally referred to Ngawang Palden too but not often.
Last edited by Bristollad on Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SteRo
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:58 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:50 pm
SteRo wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:26 pm
Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:13 pm
It's complicated because when it's studied, we normally have 3 texts - (1) the root verses (2) the root verses interspersed with Haribhadra's short commentary (not the long or the very short one) and with Gyaltsab Je's commentary to Haribhadra and (3) Jetsunpa's General Meaning commentary giving the positions accepted as "our system" at Sera Je. These texts were taught and explained, expanded on by my teacher who would sometimes include interesting/helpful alternative positions accepted at the other monasteries (i.e. from Jamyang Shayba and Panchen Sonam Dragpa, also he quite liked a commentarial text from a Mongolian geshe explaining Jetsunpa too).
Does that refer to traditional Gelug studies? I think so.

I actually prefer Arya Vimuktisena over Haribhadra and - that might be the 'Mongolian geshe' ??? - Ngag-wang-pal-dan’s "Explanation of the Treatise ORNAMENT FOR THE CLEAR REALIZATIONS" (see https://uma-tibet.org/)
Yes, this is how it's studied in the Gelug tradition - Arya Vimuktisena is sometimes quoted and his position accepted or dismissed by Haribhadra. If I remember rightly, Arya Vimuktisena is normally identified as a Chittamatrin follower of Asanga (i.e. of those who advocate 3 final vehicles) whereas Haribhadra is identified as a Yogacarya Svatantrika Madhyamika (who accept there is one final vehicle).
Well, actually Arya Vimuktisena dismisses Chittamatrin views. But the interpretation of his commentary seems to be strongly dependent on the affiliation of the interpreters and their intentions. I am definitely not a Chittamatrin follower but I find Arya Vimuktisena commentary more appropriate than Haribhadra's scholarly view informed by later scholastic developments in Mahayana.

Bristollad
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Bristollad » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:10 pm

SteRo wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:58 pm
Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:50 pm
SteRo wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:26 pm

Does that refer to traditional Gelug studies? I think so.

I actually prefer Arya Vimuktisena over Haribhadra and - that might be the 'Mongolian geshe' ??? - Ngag-wang-pal-dan’s "Explanation of the Treatise ORNAMENT FOR THE CLEAR REALIZATIONS" (see https://uma-tibet.org/)
Yes, this is how it's studied in the Gelug tradition - Arya Vimuktisena is sometimes quoted and his position accepted or dismissed by Haribhadra. If I remember rightly, Arya Vimuktisena is normally identified as a Chittamatrin follower of Asanga (i.e. of those who advocate 3 final vehicles) whereas Haribhadra is identified as a Yogacarya Svatantrika Madhyamika (who accept there is one final vehicle).
Well, actually Arya Vimuktisena dismisses Chittamatrin views. But the interpretation of his commentary seems to be strongly dependent on the affiliation of the interpreters and their intentions. I am definitely not a Chittamatrin follower but I find Arya Vimuktisena commentary more appropriate than Haribhadra's scholarly view informed by later scholastic developments in Mahayana.
Yes, I could be wrong with my characterisation of Arya Vimuktisena's position. I had access to the 4 volume set of AV's commentary translated by Gareth Sparham but didn't get on with his translation style and so the meaning was often unclear to me. At some point, I will go back and tackle it again. :smile:

SteRo
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:23 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:50 pm
Our teacher also occasionally referred to Ngawang Palden too but not often.
I love Ngawang Palden and his commentaries because he is so incredibly non-partisan.

:namaste:

jhanapeacock
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by jhanapeacock » Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:22 am

Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:35 pm
jhanapeacock wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:39 pm
Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:18 pm
it is made clear that someone who is an arhat who enters the Mahayana path takes longer to become fully enlightened than one who enters the Mahayana path directly. Why? Because even an arhat who enters the Mahayana path before they die in that same life has the habit to enter meditative equipoise for long periods rather than working for the benefit of all sentient beings. Hence it takes them longer to complete the two collections of merit and wisdom than someone who was definite in the Mahayana lineage from the beginning of the path.
Thank you, that is a very interesting point. I think tho that many of those conjetures are still based on sectarianism. Those tendencies of the arhat to meditate more and to observe the precepts and follow the eightfold path wouln´t help him to purify his karma, develop his wisdom and perfect the paramitas at greater rates that someone who is caught in delusion? That seems the case from my perspective.
Bodhisattvas are also described as following the precepts, meditating on the four noble truths including the 8-fold path and developing śamatha and vipaśyanā. Actually, in the Abhisamayalamkara, it is Bodhisattvas who are presented as being the greater practitioners of meditation rather than the Arhats. Because of this mastery, they do not develop the habit of dropping into meditative equipoise. They enter and exit by choice only. This is so because they take on the task of fully studying and mastering all paths so that they can better help everyone whereas an Arhat's emphasis and motivation are to master just enough to achieve his own liberation from suffering.
Nice! This apply for bodhisattvas starting on the path of accumulation too?
Thank you.

SteRo
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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:57 am

Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:35 pm
... This is so because they take on the task of fully studying and mastering all paths so that they can better help everyone whereas an Arhat's emphasis and motivation are to master just enough to achieve his own liberation from suffering.
"Of two people who practice the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, having a sense of Dhamma, having a sense of meaning — one who practices for both his own benefit and that of others, and one who practices for his own benefit but not that of others — the one who practices for his own benefit but not that of others is to be criticized for that reason, the one who practices for both his own benefit and that of others is, for that reason, to be praised."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

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Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Queequeg » Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:03 pm

Just want express gratitude for this thread. Thank you JP, SR, C, and BL. Great stuff.
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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