Johnny Dangerous wrote: ↑
Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:21 am
queequeg wrote:Um, again, you started with the "proprietary". I don't think I was expressing annoyance before that. I did get annoyed at this characterization.
Ekayana is probably most closely related to the Lotus, and specifically to the explanation of upaya and the three vehicles found there. In that discourse, the Buddha denies that sravakayana, pratyekabuddhayana and bodhisattvayana are distinct paths but that rather they are all provisional teachings (upaya) that lead prepare beings to hear the single Ekayana. This is different from what I understand is the view that prevails in Tibet that the vehicles are distinct paths.
That part I knew, but it has nothing in particular to do with the "suchness vs emptiness" thing you pointed at earlier, that I can see. So basically, presenting me with your Ekayana triumphalism as an answer is probably about as productive as me presenting you with my Dzogchen triumphalism, both are based on provisional vs. definitive vehicles, and rely on our respective points of view and acceptance of the doctrinal points we follow for validation.
Emptiness v. Suchness... as I wrote,
Queequeg wrote: ↑
Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:44 am
I think suchness as its sometimes called - or middle way - or any number of names - its probably convergent with unity of emptiness and appearance.
I think we're all talking about this:
Whatever is dependently co-arisen
That is explained to be emptiness
That, being a dependent designation
Is itself the Middle Way.
But the suchness approach is part of the way the Ekayana is understood. Ekayana is not just a standalone doctrine. Its a broad scope for organizing all Buddhist teachings, and for that matter, all learning, Buddhist or non-Buddhist. I realize this is not something you are familiar with in any particular way, and discussion here is not going to go very far unless there is some interest on your part to learn about it. Unless there is that disposition on your part, no matter what I say will just be "Proprietary" gibberish to you, or triumphalism. You will not see that Ekayana is a response to kinds of problems, though not the particular problem, that the author of the article points out. Its what guided and framed the adaptation of Buddhism in China.
The author makes the argument that Buddhism has never had such an encounter with a civilization so at odds with Buddhist views. Respectfully, she does not seem to be aware of the centuries of struggle that eventually gave birth to uniquely Sinic Buddhism. When Buddhism was first introduced to China, it came up against an intellectual tradition every bit as developed as Buddhism. I'd also point out, some of the main traditions it came up against were hardly animistic or mythological in grounding. Confucianism from the start sets the spiritual aside and is concerned with the society of people. Its actually quite materialistic in outlook. That encounter might be informative about what is happening now. I think that sort of intellectualism in China defined what aspects of Buddhism would resonate and develop. Ekayana thinking, along with related teachings on Buddhanature and Tathagatagarbha, played a big part.
You are failing to explain it with anything but annoyance and vague references, so I'm forced to assume it's a proprietary teaching - in terms of "suchness" meaning something removed from emptiness, or somehow generated by emptiness. I'm not hugely familiar with the Lotus or Avatamsaka, I've just perused them, but is there not some simple way you can explain the distinction you are trying to make?
Ekayana, as I wrote, is a way to frame everything. Its not just a discrete teaching, but a way to organize the entirety of Buddhism, as well as one's individual experience.
Again, it says, everything, Buddhist and non-Buddhist, is upaya preparing beings to enter the Buddhayana. This stands in contrast to notions of separate paths for the Sravaka, Pratyakabuddha, and Bodhisattva. It even goes so far as to say that Bodhisattvas themselves, including great bodhisattvas like Maitreya, hardly have a clue about the real aspect of the Buddha's wisdom, BUT, that eventually all will become Buddhas and know this wisdom. I don't know if you can appreciate the implications of that - but as the Lotus itself acknowledges, this upends many ideas associated with Sravakayana teachings, as well as many Mahayana ideas - for instance, notions of icchantika and the ability of women to become enlightened. I understand that TB addresses these issues and comes to similar conclusions, but the way its done is different, and so the conclusions themselves while appearing similar are constructed differently.
Trying to explain this is not feasible here. But I will just say what this tells ME.
There is a level of Buddhist teaching beyond many of the culturally based teachings. There is a level of Buddhist teaching, arguably, beyond concerns about birth and death and rebirth. I think this is pointed to in the earliest Buddhist teachings - many of the 62 wrong views concern speculations about birth and death, whether the cycle is perpetual or finite. There are sutras in which the Buddha refuses to explain what happens after parinirvana and condemns speculation about where a person goes after their death, reserving that ability only for the Buddha. Sure there are the rebirth aspects of teachings on srotopanna and anagamin, etc. or the innumerable rebirths on the bodhisattva path, but the focus of practice is, at the refined levels, about a single moment of mind, this moment of reality, this suchness. In the absorption of this samadhi, what's birth and rebirth, or any of that other stuff? Its scaffolding to put us into the right groove so that we can see what the Buddha herself sees. Ekayana is a way to talk about this approach.
Its not triumphalism to bring this up as a response to this author's concerns. Its to suggest, "Buddhists have been in similar situations before, and this was a way to address the issue, and it worked. China for a while became a Buddhist nation."
Nothing she says in the article is specific to Tibetan Buddhism, including the above quote. Other than the fact that she mentions her teacher is Tibetan, the points she makes are things that have to do with the confrontation of any traditional Buddhist teaching with modernity. So, I feel like you are choosing to question her background and presumed identity, rather than the issues she brings up in the article. For instance, an issue she talks about is the existence of liberation
outside of the conventional sense of "well being" that secular practices consider the only real goal of meditation. This is not anything specific to Tibetan Buddhism, quite obviously it gets to the clash between any traditional Dharmic presentation and modernity. Most of the rest of her points center around this idea, not around any ideas specific to Tibetan Buddhism, much less to Vajrayana practice specifically - which is not all of "Tibetan Buddhism", btw. Another issue she brings up is the "shrinking" of transcendent experiences to private, "psychological" events. Again, this is a thing having to do Buddhism period, not Tibetan Buddhism specifically.
Her point about the secular materialist view predominating her world, doesn't necessarily predominate everywhere else, or even in the way she describes it. You didn't point out how, other than to claim her presumed religious identity limits her perception. Why? Did she say something in the article that indicates this, or is it just your own biases talking? She isn't talking about people doing Deity Yoga or Sang...she is talking about basic assumptions of Buddhism vs. basic assumptions of modernity.
Its kind of the same problem she points to about being a Westerner - can't see it because of immersion. The way she talks about Buddhism is the way I've come to associate how people in Tibetan Buddhist circles talk about Buddhism. Its why I pushed back on her generalization of "Buddhism". She's all over the place with generalizations, talking about "traditional Asian worldview" without defining it, as though the "traditional Asian worldview" is categorically more accommodating to Buddhism, without considering that maybe it looks that way because Buddhism worked on those worldviews, whatever she has in mind, for centuries and left its mark on them.
Anyway, she overgeneralizes her
experience. Which is whatever. She does make some interesting points, but her failure to take into account certain things that clearly are outside her scope of knowledge weakens her arguments. Framing secularism as a threat to the survival of Buddhism under the wave of secularism, while is serious, I'm not sure it poses the problem she thinks.
The world of Tibetan Buddhism is much larger than Deity yoga and Tulku politics (deities are not exactly exclusive to Tibetan traditions anyway, though certainly it's practices approach them in a different way), you are basically caricaturing the tradition in order to claim it is much narrower than it is, again presumably so that you can disprove her points by approaching her presumed background and identity and rather than her words. You are IMO, coming close to disparaging another tradition here with comment about "needing to appeal to colored deities dancing in a fire", there could be some ugly assumptions underlying a statement like that, however it was intended.
No, I'm not trying to limit what Tibetan Buddhism to some strawman. I'm pointing out, yeah, some of this stuff is going to seem far out to John Smith who has zero experience with anything but his American life. Imagine I said "Fudo Myoo dancing in a fire". I'm not disparaging it but pointing out, that stuff is weird, especially if I were to answer to someone like this John Smith, "Yes, its real." He's going to have a hard time hearing much else if he's told about, "this fellow is the rebirth of a guy who lived 100 years ago, and is again a rebirth of another guy..." If he's predisposed to think that's strange, he probably will have a hard time hearing:
Birth is suffering, separating from what one desires is suffering, not getting what one wants is suffering, being forced to associate with something you dislike is suffering, sickness is suffering, old age is suffering, death is suffering.
Suffering can be ended!
based on your personal dislike of it, and is demonstrably inaccurate.
No such personal dislike. I just don't buy a lot of it. I'm open to being convinced otherwise.
Thanks for suggesting that, though!
The rebirth thing you might have somewhat of a point with, but rebirth is a background assumption of any traditional version of Buddhism, however it is emphasized. Without it there is no samsara, and no need to transcend it. It's certainly true that Tibetan Buddhism has it more at the forefront in places, but unless it's been purposefully removed or backgrounded for the purposes of modern presentation, eventually people digging deeper into other vehicles will encounter some of the the same issues brought up in the article, Tibetan Buddhism did not invent the notion of Samsara, nor the notion of liberation from it.
The emphasis is a much bigger issue than you're allowing for though. There are many forms of Buddhism that put rebirth as something that is there but, if Buddhism is true, then practice here and now will have good effects at death. The emphasis is on how one lives now with the understanding that it will have benefit beyond death without the need to put it front and center. And so the emphasis is on living a moral life in the Buddhist sense now. This is something I think you see in lay Buddhism in Asia much more. If Buddhism is going to take hold here, that's where it will make its impact and gain its roots. Not up in the air of the Garrison Institute.