Buddhahood in one lifetime

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Queequeg
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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Queequeg » Wed May 31, 2017 5:42 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:
Queequeg wrote:Nichiren Shu's doctrines are not universally accepted. Views expressed by Nichiren Shu temples are not universal even among all who are nominally part of Nichiren Shu.
Please forgive me if I am wrong, but that sounds like the No True Scotsman fallacy.

I am currently not going to entertain the possibility that Nichiren is the Eternal Buddha, since I haven't read anything from Nichiren himself that taught it.
No idea what you mean.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Dharma Flower » Wed May 31, 2017 5:45 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Dharma Flower wrote:
Queequeg wrote:Nichiren Shu's doctrines are not universally accepted. Views expressed by Nichiren Shu temples are not universal even among all who are nominally part of Nichiren Shu.
Please forgive me if I am wrong, but that sounds like the No True Scotsman fallacy.

I am currently not going to entertain the possibility that Nichiren is the Eternal Buddha, since I haven't read anything from Nichiren himself that taught it.
No idea what you mean.
I am sorry if I am misinformed. Does Nichiren Shoshu teach that Nichiren is the Buddha for the latter day of the Dharma? As far as I know, Nichiren Shu doesn't teach this doctrine, which is the main dividing line between the two traditions.

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Queequeg » Wed May 31, 2017 5:47 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:
Queequeg wrote: The Buddha goes on to explain in the Lotus Sutra that the Lotus Sutra is the Buddha's highest teaching and that everything else preceding the teaching of the Lotus Sutra is upaya, preparing for the revelation of the Lotus Sutra.
Please forgive me if I'm wrong. Does Nichiren Buddhism teach that everything in the Lotus Sutra other than the 15th through 28th chapters are provisional?
Zhiyi identified the first 14 chapters as the Trace Teaching and the latter 14 as the Original Teaching.

Provisional Teaching is something different. Provisional Teaching = Upaya.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Dharma Flower » Wed May 31, 2017 5:50 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Dharma Flower wrote:
Queequeg wrote: The Buddha goes on to explain in the Lotus Sutra that the Lotus Sutra is the Buddha's highest teaching and that everything else preceding the teaching of the Lotus Sutra is upaya, preparing for the revelation of the Lotus Sutra.
Please forgive me if I'm wrong. Does Nichiren Buddhism teach that everything in the Lotus Sutra other than the 15th through 28th chapters are provisional?
Zhiyi identified the first 14 chapters as the Trace Teaching and the latter 14 as the Original Teaching.

Provisional Teaching is something different. Provisional Teaching = Upaya.
As a devotee of the Lotus Sutra who isn't Tendai or Nichiren Buddhist, I'm not inclined to see certain parts of the sutra as merely provisional, unless it says so within the sutra itself.

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Queequeg » Wed May 31, 2017 6:42 pm

Dharma Flower wrote: As a devotee of the Lotus Sutra who isn't Tendai or Nichiren Buddhist, I'm not inclined to see certain parts of the sutra as merely provisional, unless it says so within the sutra itself.
:shrug:

I don't think you understand what "provisional" means.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Queequeg » Wed May 31, 2017 6:47 pm

Dharma Flower wrote: I am sorry if I am misinformed. Does Nichiren Shoshu teach that Nichiren is the Buddha for the latter day of the Dharma? As far as I know, Nichiren Shu doesn't teach this doctrine, which is the main dividing line between the two traditions.
Why apologize to me? Being misinformed is your problem.

Nichiren Shoshu maintains quite a few doctrines that other sects, Nichiren Shu for example, do not accept. There are actually quite a few doctrinal disagreements among Nichiren Buddhists.

You know, there are quite a few sects, not just two, and even within sects, factions don't agree.

You might be better off not making big statements when you have no idea about the lay of the land.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Dharma Flower » Wed May 31, 2017 6:50 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Dharma Flower wrote: As a devotee of the Lotus Sutra who isn't Tendai or Nichiren Buddhist, I'm not inclined to see certain parts of the sutra as merely provisional, unless it says so within the sutra itself.
:shrug:

I don't think you understand what "provisional" means.
I know enough to say that Tendai and Nichiren Buddhism might interpret the Lotus Sutra in ways that are unique to these schools or sects of Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhism especially.

The position you seem to be espousing is that we live in the latter age of the Dharma and, therefore, the Six Paramitas aren't as relevant or effective as they used to be for attaining Buddhahood. I hope you understand what I mean, since it's the position you've been advocating. :namaste:

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Queequeg » Wed May 31, 2017 7:04 pm

Dharma Flower wrote: I know enough to say that Tendai and Nichiren Buddhism might interpret the Lotus Sutra in ways that are unique to these schools or sects of Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhism especially.
The sky is blue.
The position you seem to be espousing is that we live in the latter age of the Dharma and, therefore, the Six Paramitas aren't as relevant or effective as they used to be for attaining Buddhahood. I hope you understand what I mean, since it's the position you've been advocating. :namaste:
You keep trying to put words in my mouth - words you don't really understand.

My substantive responses to you throughout this thread have referred to the Lotus Sutra. I have not referred to any commentaries.

I don't know what you mean, because I don't think you know what you mean.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Dharma Flower » Wed May 31, 2017 7:42 pm

Queequeg wrote: You keep trying to put words in my mouth - words you don't really understand.
I'm sorry. I think we might be having a miscommunication. Thank you for your help. :namaste:

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Dharma Flower » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:23 am

Queequeg wrote: The problem that some bodhisattvas have is that they are attached to the six paramitas. They think that they have to toil away for eons to earn Buddhahood.
If the teaching that Bodhisattvas are reborn for eons before attaining Buddhahood was just a upaya, why is it that the Lotus Sutra continues to teach in the subsequent chapters, following Shakyamuni's revealing of his eternal lifespan, that it takes many for Bodhisattvas to attain Buddhahood?

What I am saying is, in the chapters after the Eternal Lifespan chapter of the Lotus Sutra, the Lotus Sutra continues to teach that it takes Bodhisttvaes many lifetimes before attaining Buddhahood. I appreciate your help. :thanks:

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Dharma Flower » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:37 am

A traditional interpretation of the Lotus Sutra, among Buddhists outside of Tendai and Nichiren Buddhism, is that the Lotus Sutra's intent is to provide encouragement for those on the long, arduous journey of the Bodhisattva path.

When the Lotus Sutra says, for example, that anyone who goes into a temple or a stupa, puts their palms together and says "Namo Buddhaya," has already accomplished the Buddha way, this is saying that one's future attainment of Buddhahood is guaranteed the moment we first awaken to Bodhicitta, no matter how many subsequent lifetimes it takes to attain full Buddhahood.

What the Lotus Sutra is not promising is that we will instantly attain Buddhahood or even attain Buddhahood in one lifetime. The story of the dragon king's daughter is the exception, not the rule, and is meant to provide encouragement for those who don't yet have enough faith in their own ability to follow the Bodhisattva path.

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Queequeg » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:10 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:
Queequeg wrote: The problem that some bodhisattvas have is that they are attached to the six paramitas. They think that they have to toil away for eons to earn Buddhahood.
If the teaching that Bodhisattvas are reborn for eons before attaining Buddhahood was just a upaya, why is it that the Lotus Sutra continues to teach in the subsequent chapters, following Shakyamuni's revealing of his eternal lifespan, that it takes many for Bodhisattvas to attain Buddhahood?

What I am saying is, in the chapters after the Eternal Lifespan chapter of the Lotus Sutra, the Lotus Sutra continues to teach that it takes Bodhisttvaes many lifetimes before attaining Buddhahood. I appreciate your help. :thanks:
Being a bodhisattvas is itself a continuing misapprehension of one's real aspect. It's just more cleaning latrines because one feels they still are not Buddha.

Also, there is a distinction between the bodhisattvas like Manjusri, Maitreya, Avalokitesvara, etc. and Shakyamuni's original disciples. The latter are not instructed to work on the perfections, but are entrusted with the propagation of the Saddharma.

The Lotus Sutra employs the language of dreams because ordinary beings are lost in sleep. The Buddha says, straight up, 'I'm a story teller. I tell you stories to get you to do things that are good for you but which you scarcely understand. Sometimes I tell you stories about ancient Buddhas. Sometimes I tell you stories about myself. Sometimes I tell you that I have toys for you. Sometimes I tell you I died. Sometimes I conjure a city for you to rest in. Sometimes I tell you you're an Arhat or Pratyekabuddha. Sometimes I tell you you're a bodhisattva. They're all stories to try and get you into a position to see what you are right now. Once you get it, you're job is to play your role in this play, for the benefit of beings still toiling away, thinking they're far from enlightenment.'

If you think you still need a few aeons, take your time. That's all we've got. See you on the other side.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Dharma Flower » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:54 pm

Queequeg wrote: Being a bodhisattvas is itself a continuing misapprehension of one's real aspect. It's just more cleaning latrines because one feels they still are not Buddha.
You are making your point rather well, communicating it rather clearly. There are just two things that don't quite fit with what you are saying: It took many lifetimes of selfless service as a Bodhisattva for the Buddha himself to attain Buddhahood. He did not attain Buddhahood in an instant or in one lifetime.

The other thing is that the Buddha's predictions in the Lotus Sutra of his disciples' future attainment of Buddhahood are meant to provide them assurance and encouragement. It would not be very encouraging or assuring if he were falsely telling them it takes many lifetimes to attain Buddhahood, if he could instead be telling them that they could attain it in one lifetime.

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Queequeg » Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:23 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:It took many lifetimes of selfless service as a Bodhisattva for the Buddha himself to attain Buddhahood. He did not attain Buddhahood in an instant or in one lifetime.
Like I said, if you feel like you need to wash toilets for 3 kalpas, grab your toilet brush and start brushing. You're the one who keeps alienating the Lotus Sutra. Or are you just playing your part in the role of Sariputra?

Chapter 12 of the Lotus Sutra
Then Prajñākūṭa questioned Mañjuśrī, saying: “This sutra is profound and subtle. It is a jewel among sutras and rare in the world. If sentient beings diligently strive to practice this sutra, will they immediately become buddhas or not?”

Mañjuśrī answered: “Yes, they will. There is the daughter of the nāga king Sāgara who is only eight years old. She is wise; her faculties are sharp; and she also well knows all the faculties and deeds of sentient beings. She has attained the power of recollection. She preserves all the profound secret treasures taught by the buddhas, enters deep meditation, and is well capable of discerning all dharmas. She instantly produced the thought of enlightenment and attained the stage of nonretrogression. She has unhindered eloquence and thinks of sentient beings with as much compassion as if they were her own children. Her virtues are perfect. Her thoughts and explanations are subtle and extensive, merciful, and compassionate. She has a harmonious mind and has attained enlightenment.”

The Bodhisattva Prajñākūṭa said: “I see the Tathāgata Śākyamuni who has been incessantly carrying out difficult and severe practices for immeasurable kalpas, accumulating merit and virtue while seeking the bodhisattva path. Looking into the great manifold cosmos, there is not a single place even the size of a mustard seed where this bodhisattva has not abandoned his life for the sake of sentient beings. He attained the path to enlightenment only after this. It is hard to believe that this girl will instantly attain complete enlightenment.”

Before he had finished speaking the daughter of the nāga king suddenly appeared in their presence. Bowing until her forehead touched their feet, she withdrew to one side and spoke these verses in praise:

The Buddha is deeply versed
In the characteristics of good and evil,
And he completely illuminates the ten directions.
His subtle and pure Dharma body
Is endowed with the thirty-two marks;
With the eighty good characteristics
Is his Dharma body adorned.
He is adored by devas and humans,
And honored by nāgas.
There is no sentient being
Who does not pay him homage.
Moreover, that I will attain enlightenment
Upon hearing him

Can only be known by a buddha.
I will reveal the teaching of the Mahayana
And save suffering sentient beings.

At that time Śāriputra spoke to the daughter of the nāga king, saying: “You say that you will soon attain the highest path. This is difficult to believe. Why is this? The female body is polluted; it is not a fit vessel for the Dharma. How can you attain highest enlightenment?

“The buddha path is long. One can only attain it after diligently carrying out severe practices, and completely practicing the perfections over immeasurable kalpas. Moreover, the female body has five obstructions. The first is the inability to become a great Brahma. The second is the inability to become Śakra. The third is the inability to become Māra, and the fourth is the inability to become a universal monarch (cakravartin). The fifth is the inability to become a buddha. How can you with your female body quickly become a buddha?”

Then the daughter of the nāga king presented to the Buddha a jewel worth the great manifold cosmos, and the Buddha accepted it. The daughter of the nāga king spoke to Bodhisattva Prajñā kūṭa and the noble Śāri putra, saying: “I offered a jewel and the Bhagavat accepted it. Was that done quickly or not?”

They answered, saying: “It was done extremely quickly!”

The daughter said: “Through your transcendent powers watch me become a buddha even more quickly than that!”

Then the assembly there all saw the daughter of the nāga king instantly transform into a man, perfect the bodhisattva practices, go to the vimalā world in the south, sit on a jeweled lotus flower, and attain highest, complete enlightenment, become endowed with the thirty-two marks and eighty excellent characteristics, and expound the True Dharma universally for the sake of all sentient beings in the ten directions.
Yep. Difficult to believe.
The other thing is that the Buddha's predictions in the Lotus Sutra of his disciples' future attainment of Buddhahood are meant to provide them assurance and encouragement. It would not be very encouraging or assuring if he were falsely telling them it takes many lifetimes to attain Buddhahood, if he could instead be telling them that they could attain it in one lifetime.
Prior to the Lotus Sutra, Sariputra and the sravakas thought they were burnt seeds, precluded from Buddhahood. Buddha wasn't merely encouraging the sravakas - you underestimate the sravakas - they don't need encouragement, many have reached the point of no return. Being told that the parinirvana of the arhat is a phantom city is more than just encouragement - its conversion of sravakas to the Mahayana.

The reason the Buddha preaches three vehicles and tells beings he enters parinirvana is because they would grow complacent if they knew the full story. So he tells them, "Its hard to encounter the Buddha, its extremely difficult to become a Buddha." His strategy is to shock people out of their complacency, emphasize the urgency of this moment, the profound opportunity presented by this human birth.

What you are doing is reducing the Lotus Sutra to your understanding of the Buddhist path, when the story itself is blowing that Buddhist path up.
“Listen carefully to the Tathāgata’s secret and transcendent powers. The devas, humans, and asuras in all the worlds all think that the present Buddha, Śākyamuni, left the palace of the Śākyas, sat on the terrace of enlightenment not far from the city of Gayā, and attained highest, complete enlightenment. However, O sons of a virtuous family, immeasurable, limitless, hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of kalpas have passed since I actually attained buddhahood.
The Buddha says, "I'm a story teller. I tell you what the things that will lead you out of the burning house - a house you yourself have no idea is burning."
O sons of a virtuous family! If any sentient being comes to me, I perceive the dullness or sharpness of his faith and other faculties with my buddhaeye. According to the way I should bring them to the path, I, myself, proclaim different names and lifespans in various places. In each case I have also clearly stated that I would enter parinirvāṇa. Through various skillful means I have explained subtle teachings and have made the sentient beings rejoice.

“O sons of a virtuous family! To those beings whom the Tathāgata perceives as taking pleasure in the inferior teachings, who have few qualities and grave defilements, he teaches that the Buddha attained highest, complete enlightenment after he re nounced household life in his young age. However, it has been a very long time indeed since I attained buddhahood. I give such an explanation only to lead and inspire the sentient beings to enter the buddha path through skillful means.

“O sons of a virtuous family! The sutras that the Tathāgata has expounded are all to save the sentient beings. Whether the Tathāgata teaches about himself or others, whether he reveals his form or that of others, whether he shows his acts or those of others, everything he says is true, never false.
"In fact, my parinirvana is just another story I tell you."
Why is this? Because if the Buddha abides a long time in this world, those who have few qualities do not plant roots of good merit, acquire poor and superficial characters, are attached to the desires of the five senses, and enter into the web of illusions and false views. If they see the Tathāgata always existing without extinction, they then become proud, self-willed, and negligent. The thought that the Buddha is difficult to meet and that he is to be respected cannot awaken in them. That is why the Tathāgata teaches through skillful means, saying:

O monks! You should know that the appearance of the buddhas in the world is very difficult to encounter.

“Why is this? Because some of those with little merit may not see the Buddha during the passage of immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of kalpas.

“For this reason I say: O monks! It is difficult to meet the Tathāgata.

“Hearing such words, the thought that it is very difficult to meet the Tathāgata will certainly awaken in these sentient beings. Longing and yearning for the Buddha, they will plant roots of good merit. For this reason, although the Tathāgata does not really pass into extinction, he nevertheless says he does.
He goes on to relate the story of the father who finds his children delirious with poison and contrives to cure them by preparing medicine for them to take and shocking them into taking it by telling them he's died.

Here it is. Here is the medicine. Ready?

Namu Myoho Renge Kyo.

All you have to do, is step through the looking glass. This is the real. You are Buddha. Wake up. You are the eyes of the world.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Dharma Flower » Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:44 pm

Queequeg wrote: Like I said, if you feel like you need to wash toilets for 3 kalpas, grab your toilet brush and start brushing. You're the one who keeps alienating the Lotus Sutra. Or are you just playing your part in the role of Sariputra?
I'm sorry. It seems to me that you are reading the Lotus Sutra through a sectarian lens, rather than letting the scripture speak for itself.

It's well-known, not just in the Lotus Sutra but throughout the Buddhist scriptures, that Shakyamuni Buddha attained Buddhahood after many lifetimes of selfless service as a Bodhisattva.

In the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha provides specific predictions for others' future attainment of Buddhahood, after many lifetimes, including in the chapters following the Eternal Lifespan chapter.

While we might have different interpretations, it seems clear that we both have a sincere respect for the Wonderful Dharma Flower Sutra. May you be happy and well. :namaste:

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Queequeg » Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:59 pm

Dharma Flower wrote: I'm sorry. It seems to me that you are reading the Lotus Sutra through a sectarian lens, rather than letting the scripture speak for itself.
Actually, I did let the scripture speak for itself. See the extensive quotes above.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Dharma Flower » Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:01 pm

I would be very interested in knowing what Zhiyi, the founder of Tiantai, thought of the Six Paramitas and the Bodhisattva path in relation to one's future attainment of Buddhahood.

I'm honestly guessing that the idea of the Six Paramitas no longer being necessary for our future attainment of Buddhahood is based on Nichiren's belief in the age of Mappo, rather than what Zhiyi originally taught.

I appreciate your help. :thanks:

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Dharma Flower » Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:31 pm

Based on the commentators I've seen and heard, to practice the Six Paramitas as a Bodhisattva is based on a desire to be unselfish, while insisting on attaining Buddhahood in one lifetime, which not even Shakyamuni himself did, is like having a desire for instant gratification. The fixation with attaining Buddhahood in one lifetime, in light of the Bodhisattva path, is a form of spiritual materialism. Please forgive me if I'm wrong.

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Queequeg » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:28 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:I would be very interested in knowing what Zhiyi, the founder of Tiantai, thought of the Six Paramitas and the Bodhisattva path in relation to one's future attainment of Buddhahood.

I'm honestly guessing that the idea of the Six Paramitas no longer being necessary for our future attainment of Buddhahood is based on Nichiren's belief in the age of Mappo, rather than what Zhiyi originally taught.

I appreciate your help. :thanks:
What you seem to miss here is that the paramita are not prerequisites to awakening.

According to Zhiyi, the perfections are the practice of Bodhisattvas of the Shared Teaching. The Shared Teaching does not lead to true Buddhahood.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: Buddhahood in one lifetime

Post by Queequeg » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:32 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:Based on the commentators I've seen and heard, to practice the Six Paramitas as a Bodhisattva is based on a desire to be unselfish, while insisting on attaining Buddhahood in one lifetime, which not even Shakyamuni himself did, is like having a desire for instant gratification. The fixation with attaining Buddhahood in one lifetime, in light of the Bodhisattva path, is a form of spiritual materialism. Please forgive me if I'm wrong.
Stop being obsequious. Its annoying.

And you are wrong. You can hold whatever opinion you want. That's your burden.

Look, like I wrote above, if you want to spend three kalpas perfecting yourself, knock yourself out.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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