Arhat turning to 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.
Bristollad
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:39 am

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Bristollad » Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:38 pm

jhanapeacock wrote:
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

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.
Well, the practice of the perfection of concentration is explained to start from the path of accumulation and become surpassing on the 5th ground, leading to the practice of the perfection of wisdom becoming surpassing on the 6th ground.

One thing that seemed clear when I studied the Abhisamaya was that a variety of positions regarding different points can be held and are studied. Understanding the pedagogical purpose behind each presentation was more useful than trying to establish which was the truth

SteRo
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:07 pm

Caoimhghín wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:44 pm
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.
This seems to be a strange position which might be based on the view held by this school that Arhats realize the emptiness of phenomena but they don't or ... they do only partially - which amounts to 'they don't' - if one follows Arya Maitreya's interpretation of 'emptiness of phenomena'. Therefore what Venerable Kelsang Wangmo reports is excluded if one follows Abhisamayalamkara and "Grounds and Paths" derived from that.

User avatar
Caoimhghín
Posts: 2483
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Caoimhghín » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:25 pm

SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:07 pm
Therefore what Venerable Kelsang Wangmo reports is excluded if one follows Abhisamayalamkara and "Grounds and Paths" derived from that.
Ironic then, given that this is from his commentary on Abhisamayālaṁkāra!

:spy:
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

SteRo
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:30 pm

Caoimhghín wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:25 pm
SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:07 pm
Therefore what Venerable Kelsang Wangmo reports is excluded if one follows Abhisamayalamkara and "Grounds and Paths" derived from that.
Ironic then, given that this is from his commentary on Abhisamayālaṁkāra!

:spy:
Not really:
Bristollad wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:38 pm
One thing that seemed clear when I studied the Abhisamaya was that a variety of positions regarding different points can be held and are studied. Understanding the pedagogical purpose behind each presentation was more useful than trying to establish which was the truth
So I should better have written "Therefore what Venerable Kelsang Wangmo reports is excluded if one follows the appropriate interpretation of Abhisamayalamkara and "Grounds and Paths" derived from that.

:namaste:

Bristollad
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:39 am

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Bristollad » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:56 pm

SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:07 pm
Caoimhghín wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:44 pm
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.
This seems to be a strange position which might be based on the view held by this school that Arhats realize the emptiness of phenomena but they don't or ... they do only partially - which amounts to 'they don't' - if one follows Arya Maitreya's interpretation of 'emptiness of phenomena'. Therefore what Venerable Kelsang Wangmo reports is excluded if one follows Abhisamayalamkara and "Grounds and Paths" derived from that.
That which through the knower of all leads hearers seeking pacification to peace…

1. Support: learner hearer aryas and learner solitary realizer aryas
2. Method: knower of bases
3. Result: peace; suffering and origins of suffering have been pacified
→ Here, “knower of all” = knower of bases
→ Knower of bases directly realizes selflessness of persons and leads to peace (nirvana)

So here it is held (in the Homage) that in order for hearer aryas to attain liberation, only the realisation of the selflessness of persons is needed, but note also (from class notes):

Basis of presentation and basis of generation
• In the perfection of wisdom sutras, the realization of the selflessness of persons is presented in relation to hearer aryas and the realization of the lack of duality of subject and object is presented in relation to solitary realizer aryas. But these are just the bases of presentation and not the only persons that can generate these realizations.
• So the basis of generation of the three exalted knowers is not limited to that:
** the direct realization of the selflessness of persons exist in all aryas of all four types (hearer aryas, solitary realizer aryas, bodhisattva aryas,
buddhas)
** the direct realization of the lack of duality of subject and object exists in all solitary realizer aryas and all bodhisattva aryas (and in some
hearer aryas as well)
** the direct realization of the lack of the emptiness of true existence exists in all bodhisattva aryas (and in some hearer and solitary realizer
aryas as well)

Differences between the various vehicles
The paths of the various vehicles are very different. For example,
• for hearers, the main path is to be ordained and to live with few desires, few activities, little social involvement, in a secluded way and to aim for definite emergence [from samsara]
• bodhisattvas, on the other hand, want to help all sentient beings and therefore need to engage in many activities. They dwell deliberately in places with many sufferings, many problems, and much confusion in order to help sentient beings.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

the appropriate interpretation of Abhisamayalamkara

Who is determining the appropriateness of a particular presentation? I would suggest one's teacher initially determines which presentation to use. Later on, after assimilating and understanding that, it becomes useful to investigate the other presentations, to understand their particular purposes. My teacher emphasised repeatedly how each of the 5 great treatises can only really be understand with the help of the different commentaries and an experienced teacher. Frequently when studying the Abhisamaya, there would be 5 or 6 pages of commentary for each verse (sometimes more) and hours of oral explanation (the first 3 or 4 weeks was spent unpacking the Homage verse alone). The understanding you ended up with was far richer and sometimes seemingly quite different from the literal words of the root verse.
Last edited by Bristollad on Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SteRo
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:09 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:56 pm
SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:07 pm
Caoimhghín wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:44 pm
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.
This seems to be a strange position which might be based on the view held by this school that Arhats realize the emptiness of phenomena but they don't or ... they do only partially - which amounts to 'they don't' - if one follows Arya Maitreya's interpretation of 'emptiness of phenomena'. Therefore what Venerable Kelsang Wangmo reports is excluded if one follows Abhisamayalamkara and "Grounds and Paths" derived from that.
That which through the knower of all leads hearers seeking pacification to peace…

1. Support: learner hearer aryas and learner solitary realizer aryas
2. Method: knower of bases
3. Result: peace; suffering and origins of suffering have been pacified
→ Here, “knower of all” = knower of bases
→ Knower of bases directly realizes selflessness of persons and leads to peace (nirvana)

So here it is held (in the Homage) that in order for hearer aryas to attain liberation, only the realisation of the selflessness of persons is needed, but note also (from class notes):

Basis of presentation and basis of generation
• In the perfection of wisdom sutras, the realization of the selflessness of persons is presented in relation to hearer aryas and the realization of the lack of duality of subject and object is presented in relation to solitary realizer aryas. But these are just the bases of presentation and not the only persons that can generate these realizations.
• So the basis of generation of the three exalted knowers is not limited to that:
** the direct realization of the selflessness of persons exist in all aryas of all four types (hearer aryas, solitary realizer aryas, bodhisattva aryas,
buddhas)
** the direct realization of the lack of duality of subject and object exists in all solitary realizer aryas and all bodhisattva aryas (and in some
hearer aryas as well)
** the direct realization of the lack of the emptiness of true existence exists in all bodhisattva aryas (and in some hearer and solitary realizer
aryas as well)

Differences between the various vehicles
The paths of the various vehicles are very different. For example,
• for hearers, the main path is to be ordained and to live with few desires, few activities, little social involvement, in a secluded way and to aim for definite emergence [from samsara]
• bodhisattvas, on the other hand, want to help all sentient beings and therefore need to engage in many activities. They dwell deliberately in places with many sufferings, many problems, and much confusion in order to help sentient beings.
I don't understand how your response is related to my post. Is this whole text relevant or can you specify what in this text you consider to be relevant.

What are you arguing for or against? Or do you express your agreement with my post?
Last edited by SteRo on Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
LastLegend
Posts: 4125
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by LastLegend » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:15 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:56 pm
SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:07 pm
Caoimhghín wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:44 pm
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.
This seems to be a strange position which might be based on the view held by this school that Arhats realize the emptiness of phenomena but they don't or ... they do only partially - which amounts to 'they don't' - if one follows Arya Maitreya's interpretation of 'emptiness of phenomena'. Therefore what Venerable Kelsang Wangmo reports is excluded if one follows Abhisamayalamkara and "Grounds and Paths" derived from that.
That which through the knower of all leads hearers seeking pacification to peace…

1. Support: learner hearer aryas and learner solitary realizer aryas
2. Method: knower of bases
3. Result: peace; suffering and origins of suffering have been pacified
→ Here, “knower of all” = knower of bases
→ Knower of bases directly realizes selflessness of persons and leads to peace (nirvana)

So here it is held (in the Homage) that in order for hearer aryas to attain liberation, only the realisation of the selflessness of persons is needed, but note also (from class notes):

Basis of presentation and basis of generation
• In the perfection of wisdom sutras, the realization of the selflessness of persons is presented in relation to hearer aryas and the realization of the lack of duality of subject and object is presented in relation to solitary realizer aryas. But these are just the bases of presentation and not the only persons that can generate these realizations.
• So the basis of generation of the three exalted knowers is not limited to that:
** the direct realization of the selflessness of persons exist in all aryas of all four types (hearer aryas, solitary realizer aryas, bodhisattva aryas,
buddhas)
** the direct realization of the lack of duality of subject and object exists in all solitary realizer aryas and all bodhisattva aryas (and in some
hearer aryas as well)
** the direct realization of the lack of the emptiness of true existence exists in all bodhisattva aryas (and in some hearer and solitary realizer
aryas as well)

Differences between the various vehicles
The paths of the various vehicles are very different. For example,
• for hearers, the main path is to be ordained and to live with few desires, few activities, little social involvement, in a secluded way and to aim for definite emergence [from samsara]
bodhisattvas, on the other hand, want to help all sentient beings and therefore need to engage in many activities. They dwell deliberately in places with many sufferings, many problems, and much confusion in order to help sentient beings.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

the appropriate interpretation of Abhisamayalamkara

Who is determining the appropriateness of a particular presentation? I would suggest one's teacher initially determines which presentation to use. Later on, after assimilating and understanding that, it becomes useful to investigate the other presentations, to understand their particular purposes. My teacher emphasised repeatedly how each of the 5 great treatises can only really be understand with the help of the different commentaries and an experienced teacher. Frequently when studying the Abhisamaya, there would be 5 or 6 pages of commentary for each verse (sometimes more) and hours of oral explanation (the first 3 or 4 weeks was spent unpacking the Homage verse alone). The understanding you ended up with was far richer and sometimes seemingly quite different from the literal words of the root verse.

Yes...but it’s not going be one thing like going to market and pass out free food. But it’s like a storm hitting your home town big, they direct it away. We can’t conceive their activities. This is where people feel bad for Buddhism for not doing charity enough.
Make personal vows.

Bristollad
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:39 am

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Bristollad » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:18 pm

SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:09 pm
I don't understand how your response is related to my post. Is this whole text relevant or can you specify what in this text you consider to be relevant.
It's all directly related and relevant to your post. You seemed to be questioning what is taught in the Abhisamayalamkara concerning the realisation of hearers, whether or not they do/do not realise the emptiness of phenomena as well as selflessness. If that wasn't the case, then I've misunderstood your post.

Are you studying with a teacher or simply relying on your own understanding of the root verses and Arya Vimuktisena's commentary?

You mentioned salam (grounds and paths) literature - which texts are referring to?
Last edited by Bristollad on Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SteRo
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:25 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:18 pm
SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:09 pm
I don't understand how your response is related to my post. Is this whole text relevant or can you specify what in this text you consider to be relevant.
It's all directly related and relevant to your post. You seemed to be questioning what is taught in the Abhisamayalamkara concerning the realisation of hearers, whether or not they do/do not realise the emptiness of phenomena as well as selflessness. If that wasn't the case, then I've misunderstood your post.
I have added above:
What are you arguing for or against? Or do you express your agreement with my post?
I actually have made a clear statement and I have not asked "what is taught in the Abhisamayalamkara concerning the realisation of hearers".
Bristollad wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:18 pm
Are you studying with a teacher or simply relying on your own understanding of the root verses and Arya Vimuktisena's commentary?
This is a one-dimensional question and therefore is not applicable.

User avatar
Caoimhghín
Posts: 2483
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Caoimhghín » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:42 pm

SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:25 pm
This is a one-dimensional question and therefore is not applicable.
I think you should reread his posts. He is responding to things you've said. If bristollad feels so inclined, he can make a more detailed version of his post and restate his points more exhaustively with specific correspondences to things you've said, but that's on him if he feels like it.
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
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:39 am

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Bristollad » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:48 pm

SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:25 pm
Bristollad wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:18 pm
SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:09 pm
I don't understand how your response is related to my post. Is this whole text relevant or can you specify what in this text you consider to be relevant.
It's all directly related and relevant to your post. You seemed to be questioning what is taught in the Abhisamayalamkara concerning the realisation of hearers, whether or not they do/do not realise the emptiness of phenomena as well as selflessness. If that wasn't the case, then I've misunderstood your post.
I have added above:
What are you arguing for or against? Or do you express your agreement with my post?
I actually have made a clear statement and I have not asked "what is taught in the Abhisamayalamkara concerning the realisation of hearers".
Bristollad wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:18 pm
Are you studying with a teacher or simply relying on your own understanding of the root verses and Arya Vimuktisena's commentary?
This is a one-dimensional question and therefore is not applicable.
Sorry, you've lost me. I don't know what you're trying to communicate now. Your "clear statement" is not clear to me it seems, and I have no idea what a one-dimensional question is nor why you think it non-applicable. Whether you are/are not studying such an important text with the benefit of help from a qualified teacher is important I think. Not many of us are able to unpack the meanings of the great texts without such help. If you can, then I rejoice in your sharp intellect and all the previous study you must have done to catch all explicit and implicit meanings.

SteRo
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:58 pm

Caoimhghín wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:42 pm
SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:25 pm
This is a one-dimensional question and therefore is not applicable.
I think you should reread his posts. He is responding to things you've said. If bristollad feels so inclined, he can make a more detailed version of his post and restate his points more exhaustively with specific correspondences to things you've said, but that's on him if he feels like it.
The only relevant statement in BL's post that I could detect is this:
** the direct realization of the lack of the emptiness of true existence exists in all bodhisattva aryas (and in some hearer and solitary realizer
aryas as well)
Because it follows after:"selflessness of persons" and "lack of duality of subject and object" I conclude that his "emptiness of true existence" refers to what I have called "emptiness of phenomena".

My comment to this statement of BL is
1. It is from BL's class notes, not from Abhisamayalamkara
2. It supports my statement "they [Arhats] do only partially [realize emptiness of phenomena] - which amounts to 'they don't' - if one follows Arya Maitreya's interpretation of 'emptiness of phenomena'. " if I take "they [Arhats]" here to mean what BL calls "some hearer aryas"

SteRo
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:37 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:18 pm
...
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.
...
Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:35 pm
... 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.

Could you please give the exact positions or quotes where these references can be found in the Abhisamayalamkara?

Honestly I think you might be unintentionally confusing the commentaries on the Abhisamayalamkara you have studied or explanations heard with the Abhisamayalamkara.
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).

SteRo
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:04 pm

For those interested in study but not having appropriate material

Here can be found and downloaded:

Maitreya's Ornament for Clear Realizations, with the titles of the Eight Categories and Seventy Topics indicated. By Jeffrey Hopkins & Jongbok Yi.

Ngag-wang-pal-dan's Explanation of the Treatise “Ornament for the Clear Realizations”: accessible commentary with elaborate outline. By Jeffrey Hopkins & Jongbok Yi.

Kön-chog-jig-may-wang-po’s Presentation of the Grounds and Paths: Beautiful Ornament of the Three Vehicles: five paths of the three vehicles and the ten Bodhisattva grounds of the Great Vehicle. By Elizabeth Napper.

Traversing the Spiritual Path: Kön-chog-jig-may-wang-po’s Presentation of the Grounds and Paths: with expansive oral commentary by Dan-ma-lo-chö and Lo-sang-gyal-tshan. By Elizabeth Napper.

The Hidden Teaching of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras: Jam-yang-shay-pa’s Seventy Topics. By Jeffrey Hopkins & Jongbok Yi.

https://uma-tibet.org/index-2a.html

Bristollad
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:39 am

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Bristollad » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:38 am

SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:37 pm
Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:18 pm
...
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.
...
Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:35 pm
... 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.

Could you please give the exact positions or quotes where these references can be found in the Abhisamayalamkara?

Honestly I think you might be unintentionally confusing the commentaries on the Abhisamayalamkara you have studied or explanations heard with the Abhisamayalamkara.
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).
It's not unintentional. The Tibetan traditions do not study the Root texts separate from commentaries. Often with a least one commentary from an Indian source e.g. Arya Vimukitsena or Haribhadra (Gyaltsab Je actually lists 21 Indian commentaries for the Abhisamayalamkara) and at least one from a Tibetan author e.g. by Gyaltsab Je or Mipham Rinpoche. These are then explained and expanded on by a teacher, and debated by the students. Simply reading the root text is not how it is done, as I'm sure you know.

From the list you gave from Uma, it seems you are reading the commentary of Jamyang Shayba which is followed at Drepung Gomang. But as I mentioned earlier, Geshema Kelsang Wangmo (she was the first woman to be given a Geshe degree after studying at IBD for more than twenty years) teaches mainly based on Panchen Sonam Dragpa's text which is followed at Drepung Loseling. My teacher is a Geshe from Sera Je where they follow Jetsun Chokyi Gyaltsen's explanations. These three differ on some points. Though the students of each college have some loyalty to their own textbooks, the best scholars will study all of them.

An example of why your simple request (above) is unsuitable can be gleaned from looking at verse 2.1
In order to make the gods suitable,
Eclipsing with light;
Definite object; pervaded;
Nature; and its action.


Following the root text, there are several sections:
Explanation and
Commentary
--The support who is separated from hindrances
--Cooperative condition
--Indicating as pervaded by lineage
----Meaning of the words
----Decisive Analysis
------Proving that there is one final vehicle
------Setting forth other systems that assert that there are three
------Analysing whether or not there is a limit to samsara
--------Refuting other systems
--------Presenting our system
------Analysing from which of the Mahayana paths the hearers and solitary realisers enter
--------Repudiating others' assertions
--------Presenting our own system
--Nature of the knower of paths
----Meaning of the words
----Decisive Analysis
--Function

In the root verse, there is one word - pervaded. This is explained in the section, "Indicating as pervaded by lineage" and its sub-sections, altogether about 13 pages. Does the root verse say "Hearer foe-destroyers who enter the Mahayana enter from the path of accumulation"? No. But that information is given as part of the implicit meaning of this verse anchored on that one word, pervaded.

Now, you've already said you have studied and preferred Arya Vimuktisena's commentary to Acharya Haribhadra's and how you like Ngawang Palden's commentary, so you are aware of all of this. Asking for "the exact positions or quotes where these references can be found in the Abhisamayalamkara" then seems disingenuous to me.

I've shared my understanding based on the teaching I've heard and explained how it is one of several different explanations and commentaries studied in the Gelug school, and there are of course also the explanations and commentarial traditions of the other Tibetan schools which will differ again. I'm not fussed that what I've heard is the "one true teaching". It's simply the one I heard from my teacher based on the traditional curriculum which he thought appropriate to share with me.

He often tells us to read widely and generate lots of doubts. In that way, after clarifying, investigating and resolving those doubts, we will have a broad knowledge and not be wedded to one explanation.

If you are not you studying this text with the help of a teacher then I would recommend finding one if possible - much of the content is implicit and passed on through the oral tradition.

User avatar
LastLegend
Posts: 4125
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by LastLegend » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:51 am

Od over argument!
Make personal vows.

SteRo
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:51 am

Bristollad wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:38 am
SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:37 pm
Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:18 pm
...
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.
...
Bristollad wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:35 pm
... 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.

Could you please give the exact positions or quotes where these references can be found in the Abhisamayalamkara?

Honestly I think you might be unintentionally confusing the commentaries on the Abhisamayalamkara you have studied or explanations heard with the Abhisamayalamkara.
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).
It's not unintentional. The Tibetan traditions do not study the Root texts separate from commentaries. Often with a least one commentary from an Indian source e.g. Arya Vimukitsena or Haribhadra (Gyaltsab Je actually lists 21 Indian commentaries for the Abhisamayalamkara) and at least one from a Tibetan author e.g. by Gyaltsab Je or Mipham Rinpoche. These are then explained and expanded on by a teacher, and debated by the students. Simply reading the root text is not how it is done, as I'm sure you know.
I have no issue with using commentaries. Actually I think that to approach Abhisamayalamkara without the help of commentaries isn't possible because of the terse style of the Abhisamayalamkara. However to say "in the Abhisamayalamkara it is such and such" on the one hand or to say "in X's commentary it is such and such" or "during the explanation of the Abhisamayalamkara my teacher explained such and such" on the other hand from my perspective makes a vast difference because saying "in the Abhisamayalamkara it is such and such" might cause the erroneous impression that Arya Maitreya's view would be presented. Someone who knows the terse style of the Abhisamayalamkara seeing you present kind of little 'narratives' with the intro "in the Abhisamayalamkara it is such and such" may start to doubt your words and someone who does not know the style of the Abhisamayalamkara may erroneously think you are repeating Arya Maitreya's view.
Bristollad wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:38 am
From the list you gave from Uma, it seems you are reading the commentary of Jamyang Shayba which is followed at Drepung Gomang.
No, the commentary on the Abhisamayalamkara qua word content is of Ngag-wang-pal-dan':
Ngag-wang-pal-dan's Explanation of the Treatise “Ornament for the Clear Realizations”: accessible commentary with elaborate outline. By Jeffrey Hopkins & Jongbok Yi. "From the Approach of the Meaning of the Words: The Sacred Word of Maitreyanātha"

Jam-yang-shay-pa's "commentary" is on the structure of the Abhisamayalamkara: The Eight Categories and Seventy Topics providing Definitions, Divisions and the like.
Bristollad wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:38 am
But as I mentioned earlier, Geshema Kelsang Wangmo (she was the first woman to be given a Geshe degree after studying at IBD for more than twenty years) teaches mainly based on Panchen Sonam Dragpa's text which is followed at Drepung Loseling. My teacher is a Geshe from Sera Je where they follow Jetsun Chokyi Gyaltsen's explanations. These three differ on some points. Though the students of each college have some loyalty to their own textbooks, the best scholars will study all of them.
That the interpretions provided by the diverse commentaries may differ is perfectly understandable. I have no issue with that. And I agree that those interested in a scholary approach will probably study all the diverse commentaries available (Hopkins lists 21commentaries!). However while every now and then it occurs to me that I get interested to study this or that text I am not interested in a scholary approach. That is why I am happy when I have found an appropriate interpretation and an interpretion is appropriate for me if it neatly fits in my Dharma history and/or solves the issue that has caused my interest to study it.
Bristollad wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:38 am
An example of why your simple request (above) is unsuitable can be gleaned from looking at verse 2.1
In order to make the gods suitable,
Eclipsing with light;
Definite object; pervaded;
Nature; and its action.
J. Hopkins has it thus:
With light making gods lusterless
In order to make them suitable,
Limited places, pervasion,
Nature, and its function.
.
.
.
.
Bristollad wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:38 am
Following the root text, there are several sections:
Explanation and
Commentary
--The support who is separated from hindrances
....
--Function

In the root verse, there is one word - pervaded. This is explained in the section, "Indicating as pervaded by lineage" and its sub-sections, altogether about 13 pages. Does the root verse say "Hearer foe-destroyers who enter the Mahayana enter from the path of accumulation"? No. But that information is given as part of the implicit meaning of this verse anchored on that one word, pervaded.
Sorry but since you are referring to a commentary it seems to be a creative interpretation based on this one word 'pervaded' that arrives at the hypothesis 'Hearer foe-destroyers who enter the Mahayana enter from the path of accumulation'.
Bristollad wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:38 am
Now, you've already said you have studied and preferred Arya Vimuktisena's commentary to Acharya Haribhadra's and how you like Ngawang Palden's commentary, so you are aware of all of this.
Neither Arya Vimuktisena nor Haribhadra nor Ngawang Palden propound or arrive a hypothesis like 'Hearer foe-destroyers who enter the Mahayana enter from the path of accumulation'.

But I may quote Ngawang Palden's commentary on this verse, so that one may get in impression of his kind of commentary.
The verse:
With light making gods lusterless
In order to make them suitable,
Limited places, pervasion,
Nature, and its function.
belongs - according to Jam-yang-shay-pa's structural "commentary" - to the 2nd category "Knowers of Paths" and to the 11th Topic "Limbs of Knowers of Paths"


Lines 1 and 2 of this verse:
With light making gods lusterless
In order to make them suitable,
Commentary:
In order to make gods of the Desire Realm and Form Realm suitable as supports for generating knowers of paths, the One-Gone-Thus made the light that is a fruition of their contaminated virtues lusterless—that is to say, without splendor—with his light that is a fruition of the two collections [of merit and wisdom]. Illustrated by this, it is implicitly indicated that for those suitable as vessels for generating a knower of paths, one must overcome whatever is the predominant afflictive emotion. Hence, overcoming whatever is the support’s predominant afflictive emotion is the first limb of knowers of paths.
Line 3 of this verse:
Limited places, pervasion,
Commentary:
Knowers of paths are generated only in Bodhisattvas; they are not generated in Hearers and Solitary Realizers. Therefore, the places where the states are generated are limited. Since all creatures will become fully purified, all those having the three lineages are pervaded by meditatively cultivating knowers of paths in the end. These two [limited places and pervasion] are the second and third limbs.
Line 4, first word of this verse:
Nature,
Commentary:
The nature of a knower of paths is to not abandon afflictive emotions intentionally for one’s own sake in all respects. This is the fourth limb.
Line 4, remainder of this verse:
and its function.
Commentary:
The function of a knower of paths is to not actualize the limit of reality for the time being but through special skill in means to gather into one’s circle sentient beings who have not been gathered, and so forth. This is the fifth limb.
Now since this verse belongs to the opening section of "Knowers of Paths" it may be goood idea to refer to Jam-yang-shay-pa's "commentary" again
Definition [of a knower of paths]
A Great Vehicle Superior’s clear realization that is conjoined with the wisdom directly realizing the three paths as not truly existent is the definition of a knower of paths.

Divisions [of knowers of paths]
When are divided, there are three:
1. knowers of paths that know Hearer paths
2. knowers of paths that know Solitary Victor paths
3. knowers of paths that know Great Vehicle paths.
Each of these also has two each: types of realizations of method and of wisdom.


Boundaries [of knowers of paths]
[Knowers of paths] exist from the Great Vehicle path of seeing through the Buddha ground.
.
.
.
Bristollad wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:38 am
Asking for "the exact positions or quotes where these references can be found in the Abhisamayalamkara" then seems disingenuous to me.
Above I have tried to explain why I find your choice of words of the kind "in the Abhisamayalamkara it is such and such" problematic.
Bristollad wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:38 am
I've shared my understanding based on the teaching I've heard and explained how it is one of several different explanations and commentaries studied in the Gelug school, and there are of course also the explanations and commentarial traditions of the other Tibetan schools which will differ again. I'm not fussed that what I've heard is the "one true teaching". It's simply the one I heard from my teacher based on the traditional curriculum which he thought appropriate to share with me.
Please be assured that I respect the way you approach this text within your tradition.

:namaste:

Bristollad
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:39 am

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by Bristollad » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:37 pm

So, you are restricting yourself to Ngawang Palden's word commentary. That limits what you will understand from this text. It is not a scholarly approach - the oral tradition of explanation goes hand in hand with the written commentaries and is all about practice.

Why do hearer arhats have to or not have to start from the path of accumulation? The answer lies in how one understands the realisation of arhats compared to bodhisattvas on their respective paths of seeing. Because the required realisation for arhats is the realisation of the emptiness of persons, that is how it is presented. However, there is no pervasion. Just because only that level of realisation is needed for them to achieve their goal, does not entail that they can only have that level of realisation. Hence some Hearer aryas (i.e. those on the path of seeing, meditation or those who are foe destroyers) may also have the realisation of the selflessness of phenomena.

However, you seem unwilling to move beyond your chosen course so I wish you good fortune with your studies and will leave you to it.
:namaste:

SteRo
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:50 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:37 pm
So, you are restricting yourself to Ngawang Palden's word commentary. That limits what you will understand from this text. It is not a scholarly approach - the oral tradition of explanation goes hand in hand with the written commentaries and is all about practice.
No, as to written or spoken words I also use Arya Vimuktisena's commentary - as stated already above - and those contacted before that in my Dharma history. And as to practice that is another aspect of my Dharma history. From above: "An interpretion is appropriate for me if it neatly fits in my Dharma history and/or solves the issue that has caused my interest to study it." I.e. that statement includes practice.
Bristollad wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:37 pm
Why do hearer arhats have to or not have to start from the path of accumulation? The answer lies in how one understands the realisation of arhats compared to bodhisattvas on their respective paths of seeing. Because the required realisation for arhats is the realisation of the emptiness of persons, that is how it is presented. However, there is no pervasion. Just because only that level of realisation is needed for them to achieve their goal, does not entail that they can only have that level of realisation. Hence some Hearer aryas (i.e. those on the path of seeing, meditation or those who are foe destroyers) may also have the realisation of the selflessness of phenomena.
Let's agree that we disagree on at least two points:
1. Where Arhats 'start' when the mind of enlightenment has arisen. I have eloborated on that in posts above.
2. What kind of realization Arhats have and what kind of realization Arhats cannot have.

SteRo
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Arhat turning to Mahayana

Post by SteRo » Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:57 pm

Caoimhghín wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:59 pm
... An Annotated English Translation of Kumārajīva’s Xiaŏpĭn Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra from Ven Huifeng is free to access on academia.edu, and one can follow those footnotes via Ven Huifeng's bibliography at the end. He said the matter simpler in 2014:
Huifeng wrote:
Thu Apr 10, 2014 2:47 am
...

This is the very reason why so many Mahayana texts go to so much pain to warn bodhisattvas about falling to the stages of the sravakas or pratyekabuddhas. If one could become an arhat (or pratyekabuddha) and still turn back to the Mahayana, or, must turn back to the Mahayana, all those warning would not make any sense. Why not first become an arhat? The fact being, arhat = game over. End of samsara. So, no chance to develop the special qualities of a Buddha.

I thus take those texts which say otherwise, ie. that arhats can continue on with the Mahayana, to be neyartha teachings, ie. teachings which do not express the real truth of the matter, but are expedients requiring further explanation. Note that most of these neyartha teachings are later, even though they usually claim to be "the real truth". Such claims are more an indication of their own acknowledgement that they differ radically from established points of view.

~~Huifeng
...
Note the sutra's ambiguity on that matter:
THE LARGE SUTRA ON PERFECT WISDOM, Conze wrote: II 1,2. DEFINITION OF THE OBJECT
Subhuti : ...
But those again who have entered on the certainty of definite salvation (i.e. the Arhats who have reached their last birth and think that they have done with it all), they are unable to raise their thought to the supreme enlightenment. And why? The flood of birth-and-death hems them in.

II 1,3. PERVASION
And yet I confirm them also, if they also will raise their thought to the supreme enlightenment.

II 1,4. OWN-BEING
I shall not obstruct them when they adopt this wholesome idea.

II 1,5. ACTIVITY
For among distinguished dharmas one should uphold the most distinguished ones.
Notes to Arya Vimuktisena's commentary wrote:2. This understands the statement "I shall not obstruct them" to mean, "I do not say those Arhats are wrong when they rouse themselves and leave the apparent final peace of nirvana with the thought that a variety of work for the sake of others leads to a higher goal."

I think that the sutra's ambiguity is replaced by a definitive 'ekayana' thrust by many later - or even all? - commentators but even the verse of Arya Maitreya actually does not support such a definitive thrust.

Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Astus, Dan74, mikenz66, Shaku Kenshin, Wayfarer and 40 guests