A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Forum for discussion of Tibetan Buddhism. Questions specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
User avatar
Anders
Posts: 1167
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm

A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Anders » Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:26 pm

Hi,

My name is Anders and I am a mahayanika for a goodly number of years now. I read much of the sutras quite literally, take the avatamsaka cosmology at face value, am an ekayanin who takes a fuzzy view on how long the path to buddhahood has to take, and either way think the whole "get there as fast as possible / choose the ultimatest vehicle of them all" mentality is a somewhat flawed way of looking at a path that involves vowing to come back for innumerable lifetimes under inconceivably variable circumstances according to the particulars of one's aspirations and vows anyhow.

So, setting the whole polemical "our shortcut is X number of kalpas faster than your shortcut /our view is more supreme than your view" to one side for the sake of this topic, but also bearing in mind that I do have a keen curiosity for various skilful means that may have unusual and noticeable impact in this life...

What's the main talking points of vajrayana that distinguishes it from common Mahayana?

What's the deal with deity yoga?

How do you get around the whole "we eat meat, drink alcohol, have sex and engage in the kleshas still call this wisdom" practice thing without just discarding the classical Buddhist view of these matters altogether?

Any answers accommodating that I come from a classical Mahayana position and have not necessarily accepted the later tenets of vajrayana (whilst nonetheless being open and curious to these) would be greatly appreciated.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 28702
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Malcolm » Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:46 pm

Anders wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:26 pm
What's the main talking points of vajrayana that distinguishes it from common Mahayana?
Skillful means.
What's the deal with deity yoga?
This is a very big question. The long and short of it however is that identifying oneself as a buddha one becomes a buddha. This only refers the creation stage. In order to foster nonconceptual samadhi, there are any number of methods connected with body and its channels, winds, and drops to generate this. In common Mahāyāna, one's physical body literally limits the kind of samadhi one can have; hence as one progresses on the path, one takes rebirth in ever more refined bodies. In Vajrayāna, one can access these kinds of samadhi in this lifetime with special methods.
How do you get around the whole "we eat meat, drink alcohol, have sex and engage in the kleshas still call this wisdom" practice thing without just discarding the classical Buddhist view of these matters altogether?
Vajrayāna is a path of nonrenunciation, that is, rather than avoid sense objects, they are transformed and taken into the path. As Naropa said, "The problem is not sense objects, the problem is clinging." In Vajrayāna one is taught certain methods to transform eating, drinking, sex, bathing, wearing clothes, and so on, into the path of awakening. Vajrayāna yoga is a 24/7/365 kind of thing. This is why it is so much more powerful, and dangerous, than common Mahāyāna.

Finally, we live in a degenerate era. No one can achieve awakening through any common Mahāyāna practice such as the six perfections, Chan, Zen, Pure Land practice, etc., in these times. Why? We are too afflicted. But in this degenerate era, we are also more intelligent, so Vajrayāna is also more suited to intelligent, technologically oriented people than lower yānas.
So, setting the whole polemical "our shortcut is X number of kalpas faster than your shortcut /our view is more supreme than your view" to one side for the sake of this topic,
This is not really possible. These polemics are built into Vajrayāna just as Mahāyāna has built in polemics with regards to Hinayāna.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

Miroku
Posts: 897
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:18 am

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Miroku » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:08 pm

:good:

Thanks, Malcolm. Really great.
A boat delivers you to the other riverbank.
A needle stitches up your clothes.
A horse takes you where you want to go.
Bodhicitta will bring you to Buddhahood.

~ Khunu Lama Rinpoche

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 28702
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Malcolm » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:24 pm

Anders wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:26 pm

How do you get around the whole "we eat meat, drink alcohol, have sex and engage in the kleshas still call this wisdom" practice thing without just discarding the classical Buddhist view of these matters altogether?
I realize I didn't answer this explicitly: explicitly, the Buddha has taught that no one in this degenerate era can attain buddhahood by any means apart from Vajrayāna. So, rather than discarding anything, we are merely following the Buddha's teachings on the subject of what kind of Buddhist practice is suitable for these times.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

User avatar
Empty Desire
Posts: 124
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:48 am

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Empty Desire » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:26 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:46 pm
Finally, we live in a degenerate era. No one can achieve awakening through any common Mahāyāna practice such as the six perfections, Chan, Zen, Pure Land practice, etc., in these times. Why? We are too afflicted. But in this degenerate era, we are also more intelligent, so Vajrayāna is also more suited to intelligent, technologically oriented people than lower yānas.
As regards Pure Land this is incorrect. It is a teaching, especially for the degenerate era.
No Beginning, No End, Just Mind......

Attachment's True Face is Aversion....

Miroku
Posts: 897
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:18 am

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Miroku » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:30 pm

Empty Desire wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:26 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:46 pm
Finally, we live in a degenerate era. No one can achieve awakening through any common Mahāyāna practice such as the six perfections, Chan, Zen, Pure Land practice, etc., in these times. Why? We are too afflicted. But in this degenerate era, we are also more intelligent, so Vajrayāna is also more suited to intelligent, technologically oriented people than lower yānas.
As regards Pure Land this is incorrect. It is a teaching, especially for the degenerate era.
Yeah, but from a different side. With vajrayana it is buddhahood in 1 lifetime. Pure Land style is more along the lines of "impossible here, lets go to the pure land".
A boat delivers you to the other riverbank.
A needle stitches up your clothes.
A horse takes you where you want to go.
Bodhicitta will bring you to Buddhahood.

~ Khunu Lama Rinpoche

joy&peace
Posts: 1013
Joined: Mon May 11, 2015 4:53 pm

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by joy&peace » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:36 pm

Anders wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:26 pm
Hi,

My name is Anders and I am a mahayanika for a goodly number of years now. I read much of the sutras quite literally, take the avatamsaka cosmology at face value, am an ekayanin who takes a fuzzy view on how long the path to buddhahood has to take, and either way think the whole "get there as fast as possible / choose the ultimatest vehicle of them all" mentality is a somewhat flawed way of looking at a path that involves vowing to come back for innumerable lifetimes under inconceivably variable circumstances according to the particulars of one's aspirations and vows anyhow.

So, setting the whole polemical "our shortcut is X number of kalpas faster than your shortcut /our view is more supreme than your view" to one side for the sake of this topic, but also bearing in mind that I do have a keen curiosity for various skilful means that may have unusual and noticeable impact in this life...

What's the main talking points of vajrayana that distinguishes it from common Mahayana?

What's the deal with deity yoga?

How do you get around the whole "we eat meat, drink alcohol, have sex and engage in the kleshas still call this wisdom" practice thing without just discarding the classical Buddhist view of these matters altogether?

Any answers accommodating that I come from a classical Mahayana position and have not necessarily accepted the later tenets of vajrayana (whilst nonetheless being open and curious to these) would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Anders,

Yes - it is good to set that aside.

Vajrayana does not agree with eating meat --

at least some.

http://www.shabkar.org/teachers/tibetan ... _dorje.htm

Leaving absolutely no room for interpretation, Karmapa said that anyone who uses meat and alcohol as Tsok is not part of Karmapa’s lineage.**

may all be happy
and at peace.
love, and
metta.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 8432
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:39 am

joy&peace wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:36 pm
Anders wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:26 pm
Hi,

My name is Anders and I am a mahayanika for a goodly number of years now. I read much of the sutras quite literally, take the avatamsaka cosmology at face value, am an ekayanin who takes a fuzzy view on how long the path to buddhahood has to take, and either way think the whole "get there as fast as possible / choose the ultimatest vehicle of them all" mentality is a somewhat flawed way of looking at a path that involves vowing to come back for innumerable lifetimes under inconceivably variable circumstances according to the particulars of one's aspirations and vows anyhow.

So, setting the whole polemical "our shortcut is X number of kalpas faster than your shortcut /our view is more supreme than your view" to one side for the sake of this topic, but also bearing in mind that I do have a keen curiosity for various skilful means that may have unusual and noticeable impact in this life...

What's the main talking points of vajrayana that distinguishes it from common Mahayana?

What's the deal with deity yoga?

How do you get around the whole "we eat meat, drink alcohol, have sex and engage in the kleshas still call this wisdom" practice thing without just discarding the classical Buddhist view of these matters altogether?

Any answers accommodating that I come from a classical Mahayana position and have not necessarily accepted the later tenets of vajrayana (whilst nonetheless being open and curious to these) would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Anders,

Yes - it is good to set that aside.

Vajrayana does not agree with eating meat --

at least some.

http://www.shabkar.org/teachers/tibetan ... _dorje.htm

Leaving absolutely no room for interpretation, Karmapa said that anyone who uses meat and alcohol as Tsok is not part of Karmapa’s lineage.**

may all be happy
and at peace.
love, and
metta.
Meat eating is part of specific Vajrayana practices, for specific reasons, whether or not individual practitioners and yogis have advocated vegetarianism, which of course they have. It's explicitly incorrect to say "it does not agree with eating meat", historically it has been a part of it, and there has been a vegetarian counter-current.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 28702
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Malcolm » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:16 am

Empty Desire wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:26 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:46 pm
Finally, we live in a degenerate era. No one can achieve awakening through any common Mahāyāna practice such as the six perfections, Chan, Zen, Pure Land practice, etc., in these times. Why? We are too afflicted. But in this degenerate era, we are also more intelligent, so Vajrayāna is also more suited to intelligent, technologically oriented people than lower yānas.
As regards Pure Land this is incorrect. It is a teaching, especially for the degenerate era.
Pure land teachings are not a quick path.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

User avatar
Aryjna
Posts: 1120
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:45 pm

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Aryjna » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:29 am

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:16 am
Empty Desire wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:26 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:46 pm
Finally, we live in a degenerate era. No one can achieve awakening through any common Mahāyāna practice such as the six perfections, Chan, Zen, Pure Land practice, etc., in these times. Why? We are too afflicted. But in this degenerate era, we are also more intelligent, so Vajrayāna is also more suited to intelligent, technologically oriented people than lower yānas.
As regards Pure Land this is incorrect. It is a teaching, especially for the degenerate era.
Pure land teachings are not a quick path.
Is there some explanation why certain Dzogchen/Mahamudra masters like Karma Chagme aspire for Sukhavati (he says the Sukhavati aspiration is his root practice), while describing the interval to buddhahood there as infinite?

We were talking about it in this thread viewtopic.php?f=48&t=29657

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 28702
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Malcolm » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:35 am

Aryjna wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:29 am
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:16 am
Empty Desire wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:26 pm


As regards Pure Land this is incorrect. It is a teaching, especially for the degenerate era.
Pure land teachings are not a quick path.
Is there some explanation why certain Dzogchen/Mahamudra masters like Karma Chagme aspire for Sukhavati (he says the Sukhavati aspiration is his root practice), while describing the interval to buddhahood there as infinite?

We were talking about it in this thread viewtopic.php?f=48&t=29657
Karma Chagme was a Dzogchen practitioner.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

User avatar
SonamTashi
Posts: 130
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by SonamTashi » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:13 am

Empty Desire wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:26 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:46 pm
Finally, we live in a degenerate era. No one can achieve awakening through any common Mahāyāna practice such as the six perfections, Chan, Zen, Pure Land practice, etc., in these times. Why? We are too afflicted. But in this degenerate era, we are also more intelligent, so Vajrayāna is also more suited to intelligent, technologically oriented people than lower yānas.
As regards Pure Land this is incorrect. It is a teaching, especially for the degenerate era.
Yes, Pure Land practice is held to be especially suitable to the degenerate era according to the Pure Land sutras. But this does not contradict what Malcolm said.

Nowhere in the sutras and the Pure Land schools is it said that the Pure Land path is especially suitable for seeking awakening in the degenerate era. In fact, it is because it is impossible to achieve awakening in the Causal Vehicle (general Mahayana, i.e. Zen, Pure Land, etc.) that seeking birth in the Pure Land, where it is easier to attain awakening, is encouraged.
Last edited by SonamTashi on Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
:bow: :buddha1: :bow: :anjali: :meditate:

User avatar
SonamTashi
Posts: 130
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by SonamTashi » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:23 am

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:35 am
Aryjna wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:29 am
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:16 am


Pure land teachings are not a quick path.
Is there some explanation why certain Dzogchen/Mahamudra masters like Karma Chagme aspire for Sukhavati (he says the Sukhavati aspiration is his root practice), while describing the interval to buddhahood there as infinite?

We were talking about it in this thread viewtopic.php?f=48&t=29657
Karma Chagme was a Dzogchen practitioner.
Yes, but that is why the question is being asked. If Buddhahood can be attained within one lifetime, or even a decade, in Dzogchen, then why would someone like Karma Chagme essentially delay their awakening by aspiring to be reborn in Sukhavati, describing the interval to buddhahood there as infinite?
In this realm the perfect Buddha Amitabha will remain Not passing into Nirvana, for countless kalpas, May I attend him for all that time. When Buddha Amitabha passes into Nirvana, For innumerable kalpas twice as much as the sand grains in the Ganges River, His Dharma will remain and flourish. During that time, may I be inseparable from Avalokiteshvara, his regent, [...]
Avalokiteshvara will attain Buddhahood [...] His lifespan will be extensive, Ninety six trillion kalpas. May I continuously attend by his side [...] Then, he will pass into Nirvana, And his Dharma will remain for six hundred trillion kalpas And a further three hundred thousand kalpas, may I uphold the Dharma. [...] Then, Mahasthamaprapta will attain Buddhahood, His lifespan and Dharma will equal that of Avalokiteshvara, [...] Then, at the moment of my death, In this or another pure realm, May I attain ultimate enlightenment, Buddhahood just the same as Amitayus. May I liberate all beings just by hearing my name.
:bow: :buddha1: :bow: :anjali: :meditate:

User avatar
Aryjna
Posts: 1120
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:45 pm

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Aryjna » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:38 am

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:35 am
Aryjna wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:29 am
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:16 am


Pure land teachings are not a quick path.
Is there some explanation why certain Dzogchen/Mahamudra masters like Karma Chagme aspire for Sukhavati (he says the Sukhavati aspiration is his root practice), while describing the interval to buddhahood there as infinite?

We were talking about it in this thread viewtopic.php?f=48&t=29657
Karma Chagme was a Dzogchen practitioner.
Yes, that is why it sounds a bit contradictory, unless his description of remaining in Sukhavati for aeons is not contradictory to having already attained buddhahood and just being a display.

User avatar
Wayfarer
Global Moderator
Posts: 4220
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:42 am

Malcolm wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:24 pm
explicitly, the Buddha has taught that no one in this degenerate era can attain buddhahood by any means apart from Vajrayāna
But is this taught anywhere except for within Vajrayāna? It really does seem very much like ‘triumphalism’ - ‘our school/movement/dispenstation is the only real or authentic path’.

(I should explain that I am not an advocate, adept or ordained member of any school, but a student with a lifelong interest.)
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

Snowbear
Posts: 291
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:41 am

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Snowbear » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:20 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:42 am
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:24 pm
explicitly, the Buddha has taught that no one in this degenerate era can attain buddhahood by any means apart from Vajrayāna
But is this taught anywhere except for within Vajrayāna? It really does seem very much like ‘triumphalism’ - ‘our school/movement/dispenstation is the only real or authentic path’.

(I should explain that I am not an advocate, adept or ordained member of any school, but a student with a lifelong interest.)
Well, you're presuming that there was this skeleton of beliefs called "Vajrayana" that was first established as a school and its teachings were then codified - triumphalism and all. I don't think that's how it emerged.

MiphamFan
Posts: 974
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:46 am

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by MiphamFan » Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:32 pm

SonamTashi wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:23 am
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:35 am
Aryjna wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:29 am

Is there some explanation why certain Dzogchen/Mahamudra masters like Karma Chagme aspire for Sukhavati (he says the Sukhavati aspiration is his root practice), while describing the interval to buddhahood there as infinite?

We were talking about it in this thread viewtopic.php?f=48&t=29657
Karma Chagme was a Dzogchen practitioner.
Yes, but that is why the question is being asked. If Buddhahood can be attained within one lifetime, or even a decade, in Dzogchen, then why would someone like Karma Chagme essentially delay their awakening by aspiring to be reborn in Sukhavati, describing the interval to buddhahood there as infinite?
In this realm the perfect Buddha Amitabha will remain Not passing into Nirvana, for countless kalpas, May I attend him for all that time. When Buddha Amitabha passes into Nirvana, For innumerable kalpas twice as much as the sand grains in the Ganges River, His Dharma will remain and flourish. During that time, may I be inseparable from Avalokiteshvara, his regent, [...]
Avalokiteshvara will attain Buddhahood [...] His lifespan will be extensive, Ninety six trillion kalpas. May I continuously attend by his side [...] Then, he will pass into Nirvana, And his Dharma will remain for six hundred trillion kalpas And a further three hundred thousand kalpas, may I uphold the Dharma. [...] Then, Mahasthamaprapta will attain Buddhahood, His lifespan and Dharma will equal that of Avalokiteshvara, [...] Then, at the moment of my death, In this or another pure realm, May I attain ultimate enlightenment, Buddhahood just the same as Amitayus. May I liberate all beings just by hearing my name.
How did you interpret that as the interval to Buddhahood being infinite?

It just says that Amitabha remains there for countless kalpas and when he finally passes, his dharma still remains and Avalokiteshvara will take over.

User avatar
Aryjna
Posts: 1120
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:45 pm

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Aryjna » Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:42 pm

MiphamFan wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:32 pm
SonamTashi wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:23 am
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:35 am


Karma Chagme was a Dzogchen practitioner.
Yes, but that is why the question is being asked. If Buddhahood can be attained within one lifetime, or even a decade, in Dzogchen, then why would someone like Karma Chagme essentially delay their awakening by aspiring to be reborn in Sukhavati, describing the interval to buddhahood there as infinite?
In this realm the perfect Buddha Amitabha will remain Not passing into Nirvana, for countless kalpas, May I attend him for all that time. When Buddha Amitabha passes into Nirvana, For innumerable kalpas twice as much as the sand grains in the Ganges River, His Dharma will remain and flourish. During that time, may I be inseparable from Avalokiteshvara, his regent, [...]
Avalokiteshvara will attain Buddhahood [...] His lifespan will be extensive, Ninety six trillion kalpas. May I continuously attend by his side [...] Then, he will pass into Nirvana, And his Dharma will remain for six hundred trillion kalpas And a further three hundred thousand kalpas, may I uphold the Dharma. [...] Then, Mahasthamaprapta will attain Buddhahood, His lifespan and Dharma will equal that of Avalokiteshvara, [...] Then, at the moment of my death, In this or another pure realm, May I attain ultimate enlightenment, Buddhahood just the same as Amitayus. May I liberate all beings just by hearing my name.
How did you interpret that as the interval to Buddhahood being infinite?

It just says that Amitabha remains there for countless kalpas and when he finally passes, his dharma still remains and Avalokiteshvara will take over.
In the end he says that after all this has happened and at the moment of his death may he attain buddhahood. Until then he will be serving Amitabha, Avalokiteshvara, and Mahastamaprapta.

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7091
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Astus » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:16 pm

Anders wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:26 pm
What's the main talking points of vajrayana that distinguishes it from common Mahayana?
Like Mahayana developed a Buddhist pantheon of buddhas and bodhisattvas to be used instead of common deities, Vajrayana integrated/developed devotional, ceremonial, imaginative, magical, and physical practices. In that way it is a more coherent and versatile way. Compare it with the presence of dharanis, rituals, and occasional body related (yoga, mudra, prana, etc.) techniques in Theravada and East Asia.
What's the deal with deity yoga?
It's next level buddhanusmrti, where you identify with not just the mind but also the body of a buddha. Compare that with the approaches to buddha-remembrance in Theravada, in Pure Land Buddhism, and in Zen.
How do you get around the whole "we eat meat, drink alcohol, have sex and engage in the kleshas still call this wisdom" practice thing without just discarding the classical Buddhist view of these matters altogether?
I'd say that is quite in line with how the bodhisattva activities within samsara allows all that. It's just that here again it's visible how Vajrayana took the next step, and instead of keeping it rhetorical, made it a practice.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

User avatar
Empty Desire
Posts: 124
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:48 am

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Empty Desire » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:41 pm

Anders wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:26 pm
What's the deal with deity yoga?
I found Lama Thubten Yeshe's explanations in his books very helpful for developing an understanding of this.

'Becoming the Compassion Buddha' would be one.
No Beginning, No End, Just Mind......

Attachment's True Face is Aversion....

Post Reply

Return to “Tibetan Buddhism”