Is it possible to become a Buddha through Guru empowerment?

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himalayanspirit
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Is it possible to become a Buddha through Guru empowerment?

Post by himalayanspirit » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:16 pm

One of the characteristics of a Buddha is that he is supposed to be fully-self-enlightened (Samyak-sambuddha). So if an empowerment from a Guru is essential in Vajrayana, then in what way are they Buddhas, since they aren't "fully-self-enlighened"?

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Is it possible to become a Buddha through Guru empowerment?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:42 pm

himalayanspirit wrote:One of the characteristics of a Buddha is that he is supposed to be fully-self-enlightened (Samyak-sambuddha). So if an empowerment from a Guru is essential in Vajrayana, then in what way are they Buddhas, since they aren't "fully-self-enlighened"?
The Guru is the perfect embodiment of the dharma just as a Buddha is the perfect embodiment of the dharma.
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himalayanspirit
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Re: Is it possible to become a Buddha through Guru empowerment?

Post by himalayanspirit » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:16 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
himalayanspirit wrote:One of the characteristics of a Buddha is that he is supposed to be fully-self-enlightened (Samyak-sambuddha). So if an empowerment from a Guru is essential in Vajrayana, then in what way are they Buddhas, since they aren't "fully-self-enlighened"?
The Guru is the perfect embodiment of the dharma just as a Buddha is the perfect embodiment of the dharma.
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
himalayanspirit wrote:One of the characteristics of a Buddha is that he is supposed to be fully-self-enlightened (Samyak-sambuddha). So if an empowerment from a Guru is essential in Vajrayana, then in what way are they Buddhas, since they aren't "fully-self-enlighened"?
The Guru is the perfect embodiment of the dharma just as a Buddha is the perfect embodiment of the dharma.
You fail to understand my question.
Every Buddha in this world gained enlightenment through his own efforts. Thus all Buddhas are called Samyaksambuddhas, and therefore, their appearance is rare in this world. So if you could become a Buddha by worshiping a Guru, and that too in a single lifetime, is that a genuine Buddhahood? Isn't it written in both Pali and Sanskrit (Mahayana) sutras that Buddhas are supposed to be fully self-enlightened? So where does the concept of Guru come from? (I know, it comes from Tantrik Hinduism, but still interested in your answer). Did Buddha Shakyamuni also have a guru under whom he gained enlightenment? May be a secret Guru about whom he did not talk with his disciples?

Also, a Buddha is supposed to appear in a world to turn the wheel of Dharma. This "turning the wheel" defines a Buddha. Do the Vajrayanists also "turn the wheel" of Dharma after achieving Buddhahood?

Also, I have another doubt. We can apply the logic of refuting the concept of a Creator to refute the concept of Gurus as well. If Buddhahood is not possible without getting empowerment from a Guru, then this essentially means that there were infinite Gurus. Who was the first Guru who attained Buddhahood and could initiate others through empowerment?

Caz
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Re: Is it possible to become a Buddha through Guru empowerment?

Post by Caz » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:21 pm

Buddha was fully self-awakened yes. He did not have a Guru in his lifetime because he was already awakened aeons ago, He was simply demonstrating the path.
We however are not self-awakened enlightened beings so if we want to become enlightened as quickly as possible and not wait for 3 great aeons to pass before we accumulate enough merit we need to rely on the Guru. Vajradhara aka Buddha Shakyamuni's Tantric manifestation said that if we practice reliance upon a qualified Guru he becomes inseperable from that person so it is recieving teachings directly from a manifestation of Buddha.
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.

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Re: Is it possible to become a Buddha through Guru empowerment?

Post by conebeckham » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:42 pm

First of all, Sakyamuni Buddha did indeed have "teachers" in his last birth--though not "Buddhist Gurus," perhaps, depending on what sources you're looking at. This is clear in the Pali texts, as well as in all accounts of Buddha's life story. But I believe the Mahayana Sutras reflect that in previous lifetimes Sakyamuni did have numerous teachers, and from the POV of Mahayana, it was in those previous lifetimes, after great effort in practice, that he accumulated the merit and wisdom to attain Samyaksambuddhahood. From a certain Mahayana POV, though, Buddha was already enlightened when he entered this world, and merely demonstrated the Path for sentient beings' benefit.

From the POV of the Tantras, it's a whole different story--in the realm of Vajrayana, Sakyamuni did indeed have Gurus, receive empowerment, etc.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
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དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Is it possible to become a Buddha through Guru empowerment?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:46 pm

My mistake.
I thought you were asking:
himalayanspirit wrote:So if an empowerment from a Guru is essential in Vajrayana, then in what way are they Buddhas, since they aren't "fully-self-enlighened"?
..so, I was answering in what way gurus are regarded as buddhas.

When you say, "gained enlightenment" that can mean a lot of things. It can mean the perfect cessation of the causes of rebirth, the complete ending of suffering, but it doesn not automatically mean becoming a buddha.
himalayanspirit wrote: We can apply the logic of refuting the concept of a Creator to refute the concept of Gurus as well. If Buddhahood is not possible without getting empowerment from a Guru, then this essentially means that there were infinite Gurus. Who was the first Guru who attained Buddhahood and could initiate others through empowerment?
Well, realizing "Buddahood" (a funny term) is possible without a guru. Vajrayana is only one method. There are many enlightened teachers from many traditions, and there have been many over the centuries, who had completely uprooted the causes of rebirth (suffering). Vajrayana is an especially expedient method because it is the method of looking directly at the mind itself.

A teacher can only point out to you what you already have. So it's not like you have to go to a teacher and they give you some enlightenment. The teacher merely shows you how to remove all the obstacles to realizing that your mind is already buddha mind. So, from that understanding, "self realization" and aided realization are not really different.

Its as if you cannot find your cell phone. You looked everywhere. Then somebody says to you, "did you look in your coat pocket?" and you reach your hand in, and there is the phone. Eventually you would have found it anyway. So, did you find it because somebody told you where to look, or because you are the one who reached their hand into the pocket?

It is purely through your own efforts that you reached in the pocket and found the cell phone. But it was also the other person who suggested that you should look there. And so, now you feel grateful to that person. That is really all that "worshiping a guru" as you put it, is about.

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