Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

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Minobu
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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by Minobu » Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:42 pm

I believe there is a combined teaching and an entity unto itself that is omnipresent ..It is something other than Buddha but leads to Buddhahood in the Latter Day of the Law...Maybe that which we seek is something other than a Buddha and does indeed lead to Buddhahood. Confused we label it The Eternal Buddha and argue who is the Primordial Buddha.
it is none other than The Odaimoku and The Lotus Buddhism from which it is derived..So this is the Eternal Buddha.

It is a path unto itself and does not deny that other paths and practices lead to Buddhahood, just not in the degenerate age.


As for This Eternal Buddha debate thing...and it is a thing for no one can nail it down in such a way for it to be plain as day and agreed upon. , which is the reason since day one of this being brought up in front of me...it is still debated.

The length of time , though very long, that my Lord Buddha stated when he actually attained buddhahood is finite..He was a common mortal suffered and ended up finally attaining Buddhahood..since that time SahaLokas have been produced and died by an immeasurable amount of times...

and yet we have Buddha saying His pure land is always there and does not perish . is this actually His in the conventional sense or a reference to the Land which all Buddhas share in and are a part of once they attain Buddhahood.

No where does He in His wisdom actually clearly state He is the Eternal Buddha....we are left with a double entendre or innuendo based speculation .


Lotus Buddhism's use as a means to further sentients on the path to Buddhahood is only implemented after the decline when other means to liberation no longer suit a perfect place, perfect teacher, perfect retinue, perfect teaching, and a perfect time.
when the place, teacher, retinue, teaching, time,coincide totally with the Latter Day of the Law , or Mappo , or the degenerate time, we see the rise and appearance of The Lotus sutra and it's Lotus Buddhism as we call it.

the proof is in the words of the Lotus sutra, if you have any faith in "IT" and The Buddha from which taught it at Eagle Peak .
thats what the Sutra is about , accept it or not....Oddly no Lotus Buddhist practice appeared on earth in our timeline till the Latter Day of the Law.It would be meaningless in the pre degenerate times and useless, as is pre degenerate time practices today that led to Buddhahood.the place, teacher, retinue, teaching, time, differ from age to age


edit note..the bold today was inserted as an edit to make more clear a statement.

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by Caoimhghín » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:00 pm

Malcolm wrote:Akaniṣṭha Gandavyuha is outside of the three realms completely. It can only be accessed by bodhisattvas of the eighth bhumi and beyond.
I must be confused. I'm not really exposed to discourses or teachings surrounding Akaniṣṭha Gandavyuha, since that mode of expression of the dharma isn't really a part of anything I practice, so its likely that I have some misconceptions as a result of not educating myself on the matter.

I had (mis)understood Akaniṣṭha Gandavyuha as the Pure Land of Vairocana, and I had thought that in, at least some(?) Buddhist cosmologies "we" (within a 'smaller' Pure Land) are (mis?)understood to be 'within' this Akaniṣṭha Gandavyuha, whatever that spatialized language means in this context. How absurd is it to have thought that? :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

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by Malcolm » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:23 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Akaniṣṭha Gandavyuha is outside of the three realms completely. It can only be accessed by bodhisattvas of the eighth bhumi and beyond.
I must be confused. I'm not really exposed to discourses or teachings surrounding Akaniṣṭha Gandavyuha, since that mode of expression of the dharma isn't really a part of anything I practice, so its likely that I have some misconceptions as a result of not educating myself on the matter.

I had (mis)understood Akaniṣṭha Gandavyuha as the Pure Land of Vairocana, and I had thought that in, at least some(?) Buddhist cosmologies "we" (within a 'smaller' Pure Land) are (mis?)understood to be 'within' this Akaniṣṭha Gandavyuha, whatever that spatialized language means in this context. How absurd is it to have thought that? :spy:
The Ghanavyūha Sūtrastates:
  • The buddhas abiding in that place
    praise Ghanavyūha.
    Ghanavyūha has existed from beginningless time.
    A self-originated emanation is there,
    the stainless Buddha.
    Dwelling beyond the three elements (fire, air, and water),
    that place is without grasping to bliss,
    it is free from the experience of I and mine,
    it is unchanging, ultimately permanent, and stable.
    Ghanavyūha is unconditioned.
    The perfect buddhas awaken [there]
    but without buddhahood in the supreme place, Akaniṣṭha,
    the deeds of the buddha will not be performed in the desire realm.
    Once they depart Ghanavyūha
    ten million emanations of the Buddha
    will always remain in yogic equipoise.
And:
  • The Ghanavyūha buddhafield exists beyond the subtle particle nature of the other buddhafields. The Ghanavyūha buddhafield is without the sun, planets, and the moon. Because it’s nature is unconditioned, it does not appear as the most subtle of subtle particles.
Thus the Buddha teaches that all buddhas attain buddhahood in Ghanavyūha.

And, it is really not a place within time or space:
  • When consciousness transforms,
    it is Ghanavyūha free from mind.
    It is not the domain of those with concepts.
    The palace of the Tathāgata, Ghanavyūha,
    did not arise in the past and has no end;
    it is arises from the power of natural perfection;
    without a cause, does not arise from karma;
    it is not created by Iśvara;
    it exists truly beyond
    the desire, form, and formless realms.
    As it is beyond the desire realm,
    beyond the form realm, the formless realm,
    the unconscious beings, and the cause of darkness—
    this beautiful Ghanavyūha buddhafield
    formed from space,
    is not the domain of those with causes,
    free from existence and nonexistence,
    free from sameness and difference.

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by Minobu » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:30 pm

illarraza wrote: Stace: The Sutra begins, “Thus I Have Heard”. Ananda, the Buddhas attendant recalling verbally, (orally) what the Buddha said. How and why would the Buddha then instruct the “hearers” of this sutra to READ and; WRITE it?

Mark: Why would anyone believe that such capable monks who could memorize thousands of lines of oral texts were incapable of keeping secret a teaching meant for a later time? These were highly disciplined men, unlike our present day politicians and heads of state who have successfully kept secrets [documents] for hundreds or even thousands of years. This is hardly an anomally but rather a misunderstanding of the greatness of the Buddha and his followers.


Mark
Keeping in mind those that put the Teachings to written word were more than likely highly developed Bodhisattvas with the high level Bhumi status thingy.
The Harvest was at it's peak and the people around this time were the cream of the crop followers of the Actual Buddha Sakyamuni and probably even were able recall being their a few hundred years previous..
ok speculation...maybe someone could prove it ..

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by Queequeg » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:44 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Queequeg wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Your hermeneutical criteria has been overdetermined by Western text critical scholarship.

Can you imagine any traditional scholar arguing about the five certainties in the Saddharmapundarika Sūtra based on some idea that it was written down between 100 BCE —— 100 CE? I can't.
Now you're just dancing.

Our exchange is published above. The outstanding issues are there.

It would not be outrageous for someone to conclude you don't want to deal with the sutra.
You reject the five certainties because according to you they are a later Mahāyāna teaching.
Show me where I reject the Five Certainties.
But it is not actually the case that they are a later Mahāyāna teaching. All sūtras present the five perfections: a perfect place, perfect teacher, perfect retinue, perfect teaching, and a perfect time, including Hinayāna sūtras. The distinction between the nirmanakāya and the sambhogakāya is that the five perfections are constant in the case of the latter, but in the case of the former, the place is different, the teacher may be different, a different retinue, a different teaching, or a different time.
The only point I disagree with is the distinction drawn between nirmanakaya and sambhogakaya in the Lotus. The whole point of the life span chapter is to explain to the assembly that their perception that the Buddha is born and enters parinirvana is upaya. He is talking about himself as the Buddha that ordinary beings see - the nirmanakaya. He says that he is constantly dwelling in the Saha world leading beings, whether as Shakyamuni or in some other appearance. The point is that the nirmanakaya is durable.

What you are claiming as the Indian view can only prevail if all that business about constantly abiding in the Saha world is upaya - and indeed that is your claim. This is our impasse.
The trikaya teaching appeared after the Lotus appeared. To the extent that later Lotus proponents labored to find the trikaya in the Lotus, its because they were resolving distinctions that came up later and were then used to analyze the sutras. We use more words to resolve the breaches that words created in the first place.
This apparently means you do not accept the teachings of the three kāyas as the Buddha's teaching.
Where do you get that I do not accept trikaya teaching?

What I do think is that all of these teachings are upaya, and upaya by definition are grounded in context. Taking a teaching taught in a particular context and reapplying it in another is often going to be problematic. Trikaya and 5 Certainties are teachings that emerged at a time later than the Lotus. The Lotus appeared in a particular context, expressed in the terms of that particular time. This does not mean that it is not Buddha teaching. It is Buddha teaching that emerged at a particular place and time. In acknowledging this, I do not deny Trikaya or 5 Certainties. I do, however, question the simplistic application of these distinctions to analyze the Lotus.

Perhaps if Trikaya and 5 certainties were part of the vocabulary at the time that the Lotus emerged, the teaching would have taken a slightly different appearance. But they weren't. This does not mean Trikaya and 5 certainties are to be rejected. However, care is necessary to apply them in other contexts.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Lotus taught by Candrasuryapradipa was not literally the same as the Lotus taught by Shakyamuni, nor the same as the one taught by Mahabhijnajnanabhibu. In substance, though, I do not doubt they expressed the same gist - the eternal durability of the Buddha.
Why? It appears in many sūtras. This is why I chided you for relying on text critical scholarship when it suits you, and ignoring it when it doesn't.
That is one way to look at it. Another is to take into account the nature of upaya and understand that context matters - that a teaching which is illuminating in one context may create confusion in another. I don't think that this is a controversial statement.
The Buddha is quite clearly stating that Rajagriha is a sambhogakāya buddhafield since it will not perish when the Sahaloka perishes. He states he will always be present there. He states the Dharma he will teach there, etc. He states that its continuous presence cannot be observed by everyone. It is really quite clear.
Grdhakuta, not Rajagriha. :)

He does say that - he also says that he constantly appears to the beings lost in samsara, though they do not realize they are seeing the Buddha.

I am always grateful to discuss Dharma matters with you, Malcolm. I treasure you as a good (virtual) dharma friend, and no doubt you have given me plenty to think about. You can insist that you are right as much as you want, but unless you address the actual text of the sutra where the Buddha makes statements that are incompatible with your conclusion, I'm at a loss as to where we can go from here.

At this point, it would be very interesting to me to see this commentary myself. Do you have a citation for the French translation that I've seen referenced online?
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by Minobu » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:11 pm

I've come to terms with my practice as of today..well sort of the past few days..
it's all about an entity , teaching.. guiding , healing ...transforming...the ultimate teacher.
that is the practice itself..the basic..ODaimoku, Gohonzon , and what is in you and around you

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by Malcolm » Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:12 pm

Queequeg wrote:
The only point I disagree with is the distinction drawn between nirmanakaya and sambhogakaya in the Lotus. The whole point of the life span chapter is to explain to the assembly that their perception that the Buddha is born and enters parinirvana is upaya. He is talking about himself as the Buddha that ordinary beings see - the nirmanakaya. He says that he is constantly dwelling in the Saha world leading beings, whether as Shakyamuni or in some other appearance. The point is that the nirmanakaya is durable.
The point is that ordinary beings can only see a nirmanakāya, if they are lucky.
What you are claiming as the Indian view can only prevail if all that business about constantly abiding in the Saha world is upaya - and indeed that is your claim. This is our impasse.
The nirmanakāya, being an emanation (hence the appellation, nirmana) can come, go or stay forever — it has nothing to do with durability. If there is no Sahaloka, for example, Buddha can hang out in space, but if there are no sentient beings there to teach, what is the point?

The trikaya teaching appeared after the Lotus appeared. To the extent that later Lotus proponents labored to find the trikaya in the Lotus, its because they were resolving distinctions that came up later and were then used to analyze the sutras. We use more words to resolve the breaches that words created in the first place.
This apparently means you do not accept the teachings of the three kāyas as the Buddha's teaching.
Where do you get that I do not accept trikaya teaching?
"The trikaya teaching appeared after the Lotus appeared." If you accept the three kāyas, such a statement makes no sense.
Trikaya and 5 Certainties are teachings that emerged at a time later than the Lotus.
This is a Western text critical claim.
Perhaps if Trikaya and 5 certainties were part of the vocabulary at the time that the Lotus emerged, the teaching would have taken a slightly different appearance. But they weren't. This does not mean Trikaya and 5 certainties are to be rejected. However, care is necessary to apply them in other contexts.
Again, this way of looking at things is rooted in Western text criticism.

Why? It appears in many sūtras. This is why I chided you for relying on text critical scholarship when it suits you, and ignoring it when it doesn't.
That is one way to look at it. Another is to take into account the nature of upaya and understand that context matters - that a teaching which is illuminating in one context may create confusion in another. I don't think that this is a controversial statement.
You are dressing up your devotion to Western text criticism in "upayic clothing." If you try to mix text critical scholarship with Buddhadharma, you get a very strange result.
I am always grateful to discuss Dharma matters with you, Malcolm. I treasure you as a good (virtual) dharma friend, and no doubt you have given me plenty to think about. You can insist that you are right as much as you want, but unless you address the actual text of the sutra where the Buddha makes statements that are incompatible with your conclusion, I'm at a loss as to where we can go from here.
My conclusion is not in contradiction to the text of the sūtra itself. Buddha's words are not just simple exhortations to be taken literally. For example, in some places the Buddha says we should kill, lie, cheat, and steal. But one cannot take such pronouncements literally. The Buddha's words must be taken as a whole, not in isolation from one another.
At this point, it would be very interesting to me to see this commentary myself. Do you have a citation for the French translation that I've seen referenced online?
Sorry, I read the text directly in Tibetan, so do not have a handy reference.

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by Queequeg » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:07 pm

Malcolm wrote: The nirmanakāya, being an emanation (hence the appellation, nirmana) can come, go or stay forever — it has nothing to do with durability. If there is no Sahaloka, for example, Buddha can hang out in space, but if there are no sentient beings there to teach, what is the point?
And in the Lotus, the Buddha says, I stay forever, always have been here and and always will. All of this goes without saying that there are sentient beings. To posit a circumstance in which there are no living beings is... moot.
"The trikaya teaching appeared after the Lotus appeared." If you accept the three kāyas, such a statement makes no sense.
Sure it does - Buddha taught different teachings in different contexts, which is why he appears to contradict himself. Such as when he says, "Tomorrow I enter parinirvana." "I don't really enter parinirvana." As you admit, you have to take into account context.
My conclusion is not in contradiction to the text of the sūtra itself. Buddha's words are not just simple exhortations to be taken literally. For example, in some places the Buddha says we should kill, lie, cheat, and steal. But one cannot take such pronouncements literally. The Buddha's words must be taken as a whole, not in isolation from one another.
Your point is that Shakyamuni attributes aspects of Sambhogakaya to himself, but that this is just upaya to generate faith. You have to read things into the Lotus Sutra and ignore other things that are actually there to come to that conclusion. As you said earlier, interpretation.

Anyway, that's the end of the line.
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by Malcolm » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:22 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Malcolm wrote: The nirmanakāya, being an emanation (hence the appellation, nirmana) can come, go or stay forever — it has nothing to do with durability. If there is no Sahaloka, for example, Buddha can hang out in space, but if there are no sentient beings there to teach, what is the point?
And in the Lotus, the Buddha says, I stay forever, always have been here and and always will. All of this goes without saying that there are sentient beings. To posit a circumstance in which there are no living beings is... moot.
The rūpakāyas are basically illusions. They are not substantial entities.
"The trikaya teaching appeared after the Lotus appeared." If you accept the three kāyas, such a statement makes no sense.
Sure it does - Buddha taught different teachings in different contexts, which is why he appears to contradict himself. Such as when he says, "Tomorrow I enter parinirvana." "I don't really enter parinirvana." As you admit, you have to take into account context.
According to your own tradition, the Saddharmapundarika was taught towards the end of the Buddha's life. How can it possibly make sense that the trikāya and five certainties "appear later?"

It is one thing to reconcile seemingly contradictory statements, it is another thing to compound an already complicated situation by introducing such Western historical notions into your understanding such as Lotus appears in 100 BCE; but trikāya starts with Maitreyanath , and so on.

My conclusion is not in contradiction to the text of the sūtra itself. Buddha's words are not just simple exhortations to be taken literally. For example, in some places the Buddha says we should kill, lie, cheat, and steal. But one cannot take such pronouncements literally. The Buddha's words must be taken as a whole, not in isolation from one another.
Your point is that Shakyamuni attributes aspects of Sambhogakaya to himself, but that this is just upaya to generate faith.
I did not say that. I said that Prithvibandu made this assessment. This is how Indians understood the passage in question. We are unfortunately stuck with only a single subcontinental commentary. However, the influence of the Saddharmapundarika was very great, and was a key sūtra in Indian and post Indian Mahāyāna everywhere. Indians read these sūtras together, as a whole, and unlike the Chinese and Japanese, did not elaborate schools based on this or that sūtra.

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by Minobu » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:01 pm

after rereading this i owe malcolm an apology.
I followed the discussion wrong.

I thought he was knocking Mahayana, due to a past post here and my misunderstanding of what he was saying in this thread.

So i think he was saying "Q" was using western text scholarship to justify Upaya , which leads to confusion .
I took this
Malcolm wrote: Your hermeneutical criteria has been overdetermined by Western text critical scholarship.

Can you imagine any traditional scholar arguing about the five certainties in the Saddharmapundarika Sūtra based on some idea that it was written down between 100 BCE —— 100 CE? I can't.
as Malcolm defending "Western text critical scholarship"

i was so off the mark...probably why he never replied to the nonsense.

so i knew something was not right ...so i reread it a few times and understood.

I apologize Malcolm for deciding something about you...that being you don't believe in Mahayana.

i was prejudice due to i guess...not trusting you and reading you wrong.

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by Malcolm » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:13 pm

Minobu wrote:
I apologize Malcolm for deciding something about you...that being you don't believe in Mahayana.
.

No worries.

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by DGA » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:59 pm

There are a number of worthwhile points to follow up on in this exchange. I'd like to pursue just one--the last point Malcolm makes in this post:
Malcolm wrote:
Queequeg wrote:
Malcolm wrote: The nirmanakāya, being an emanation (hence the appellation, nirmana) can come, go or stay forever — it has nothing to do with durability. If there is no Sahaloka, for example, Buddha can hang out in space, but if there are no sentient beings there to teach, what is the point?
And in the Lotus, the Buddha says, I stay forever, always have been here and and always will. All of this goes without saying that there are sentient beings. To posit a circumstance in which there are no living beings is... moot.
The rūpakāyas are basically illusions. They are not substantial entities.
"The trikaya teaching appeared after the Lotus appeared." If you accept the three kāyas, such a statement makes no sense.
Sure it does - Buddha taught different teachings in different contexts, which is why he appears to contradict himself. Such as when he says, "Tomorrow I enter parinirvana." "I don't really enter parinirvana." As you admit, you have to take into account context.
According to your own tradition, the Saddharmapundarika was taught towards the end of the Buddha's life. How can it possibly make sense that the trikāya and five certainties "appear later?"

It is one thing to reconcile seemingly contradictory statements, it is another thing to compound an already complicated situation by introducing such Western historical notions into your understanding such as Lotus appears in 100 BCE; but trikāya starts with Maitreyanath , and so on.

My conclusion is not in contradiction to the text of the sūtra itself. Buddha's words are not just simple exhortations to be taken literally. For example, in some places the Buddha says we should kill, lie, cheat, and steal. But one cannot take such pronouncements literally. The Buddha's words must be taken as a whole, not in isolation from one another.
Your point is that Shakyamuni attributes aspects of Sambhogakaya to himself, but that this is just upaya to generate faith.
I did not say that. I said that Prithvibandu made this assessment. This is how Indians understood the passage in question. We are unfortunately stuck with only a single subcontinental commentary. However, the influence of the Saddharmapundarika was very great, and was a key sūtra in Indian and post Indian Mahāyāna everywhere. Indians read these sūtras together, as a whole, and unlike the Chinese and Japanese, did not elaborate schools based on this or that sūtra.
The Lotus Sutra makes particular claims on those persons who are said to uphold the sutra. In Japanese Buddhism especially, it is not unusual to find persons who describe themselves as "upholders of the Lotus Sutra" or similar. In contrast, from the perspective of classical Indian Mahayana, would the meaning of an "upholder" of this sutra differ significantly? Specifically, if the Lotus Sutra is seen as part of a continuous canon of teachings and not as a singular event, then what could it mean to "uphold" the sutra?

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by Malcolm » Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:13 am

DGA wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:59 pm
The Lotus Sutra makes particular claims on those persons who are said to uphold the sutra. In Japanese Buddhism especially, it is not unusual to find persons who describe themselves as "upholders of the Lotus Sutra" or similar. In contrast, from the perspective of classical Indian Mahayana, would the meaning of an "upholder" of this sutra differ significantly? Specifically, if the Lotus Sutra is seen as part of a continuous canon of teachings and not as a singular event, then what could it mean to "uphold" the sutra?
All claims have a context. No substantial evidence has ever been put forward suggest Indians formed schools around individual sūtras, suggesting that the context of such claims found in Saddhamrmapundarika Sūtra are extremely different in India than they grew to be in China and later, Japan. So yes, the meaning of an "upholder" of this sutra differs in significant ways.

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by Queequeg » Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:48 pm

Maybe its a distinction without real significance, but with the exception of certain interpretations within the Japanese Single Practice schools, holding one sutra or another as primary does not equate to holding one sutra or another exclusively. Rather, the primary text is the basis of the school's view through which other texts are interpreted and understood.

It may not be the case that schools in India were organized around particular texts, but there certainly were schools advocating various distinct views. And I'm not quite sure that Indian schools were not organized around particular texts, or bodies of texts - aren't the respective collections of texts and commentaries the basis by which schools of Buddhism in India were defined? Hinayana was based on the Agama/Nikaya, Mahayana based on the Mahayana sutras, and within these broad divisions were other sectarian divisions.

Maybe distinguishing East Asian schools because of their foundation on particular texts is a distinction without real significance.
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by Malcolm » Wed Sep 27, 2017 5:40 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:48 pm
Maybe its a distinction without real significance, but with the exception of certain interpretations within the Japanese Single Practice schools, holding one sutra or another as primary does not equate to holding one sutra or another exclusively. Rather, the primary text is the basis of the school's view through which other texts are interpreted and understood.
There is no evidence of such a trend in India.
It may not be the case that schools in India were organized around particular texts, but there certainly were schools advocating various distinct views.
Yes, in general, divided into the four siddhanta.
And I'm not quite sure that Indian schools were not organized around particular texts, or bodies of texts - aren't the respective collections of texts and commentaries the basis by which schools of Buddhism in India were defined? Hinayana was based on the Agama/Nikaya, Mahayana based on the Mahayana sutras, and within these broad divisions were other sectarian divisions.
Certainly schools were organized around canons, but it really does not appear that there were systematic schools based around individual sūtras per se. The closest you can come to this is the broad divisions of Indian Mahāyāna sūtras into three categories: Prajñāpāramitā, Yogacāra and Tathāgatagarbha Sūtras.

Maybe distinguishing East Asian schools because of their foundation on particular texts is a distinction without real significance.
I think it is one of the hall marks of East Asian Buddhism, actually.

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by jikai » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:32 am

Sorry if this has been mentioned before and I missed it, but using Prthivibandhu's commentary as an example of Indian interpretations of The Lotus Sutra is highly problematic.Prthivibandhu is not Indian, he is Chinese. Prthivibandhu is Kuiji 窺基, disciple of Xuanzang, and defacto founder of the Faxiang School. This is well known in the Japanese literature, although the only English reference I'm aware of is from Dr Lopez's Biography of The Lotus Sutra. Therefore the opinion expressed by Kuiji is problematic for purposes here, because a) He is Chinese, and b) He is a Yogacarin. Being Yogacarin, the Lotus Sutra and pretty much all of its major doctrines, like the Ekayana, and the assurance of Buddhahood, are rejected as provisional skilfull means, not as ultimate( Faxiang/Hosso atleast in East Asia, says that the Three Vehicles are Ultimate, and the One Vehicle is Provisional, the seeds preclude some from Buddhahood etc). This really does imply reading the Lotus Sutra as superseded by other teachings. This debate happened in China, and again in Japan with the debates between Saicho and Tokuitsu. If Kuiji's interpretation on the Lotus Sutra is taken as a standard, even though his school must deny certain of its doctrines, then at the very least Daosheng's commentary (Chinese disciple of Kumarajiva) would also be 'another standard' no?

The commentary in question was written by Kuiji in Chinese, and is in the Taisho Canon. A partial translation was made into Tibetan from the Chinese but ends at chapter 11 (?). Long story short, not Indian, partial translation from Chinese into Tibetan only. Exists in full in the Taisho Canon (Miaofa lianhua jing xuanzan 妙法蓮華經玄贊, T 1723), and is problematic for determining 'Indian' (if one can be so broad) interpretations of The Lotus Sutra, because it is written by a Yogacarin. Realistically, we would need to weigh it against Madhyamaika interpretations of The Lotus Sutra (because they did- at least in East Asia, accept the Ekayana as Ultimate etc). With that in mind, I'd imagine that the Maha Prajnaparamita Upadesa of Nagarjuna would be the best counterbalance we have. However, that isn't going to get us very far because, only existing in Chinese, it is not necessarily accepted by both the Tibetan and East Asians. All in all then, it seems neither of these can be used to determine in a pan-tradition debate, the Indian standard interpretations. Only other alternative I can think of is Vasubandhu's Saddharmapuṇḍarīka-sūtra-upadeśa . But that is sparse in the end anyway.

Gassho,
Jikai.

:focus:
"止觀明靜前代未聞"
(摩訶止觀)

"此妙法蓮花經者本地甚深之奧藏也"
( 法華玄義)

"觀心者空觀是般若假觀是解脫中觀是法身"
(法華文句)

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by jikai » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:02 pm

To confirm, I don't read Tibetan so I can't confirm it's the same as the Chinese. However, there is quite a lot of scholarship that suggests this. I have spoken to people who can read Tibetan and Chinese, and they largely agree it is Kuiji's text, not a Sinhalese work. Even if we don't accept that the evidence for the text being Kuiji's is conclusive, the fact that it is a translation from Chinese, and that even if it isn't a chinese text originally, Sinhalese doesn't necessarily equal Indian.
"止觀明靜前代未聞"
(摩訶止觀)

"此妙法蓮花經者本地甚深之奧藏也"
( 法華玄義)

"觀心者空觀是般若假觀是解脫中觀是法身"
(法華文句)

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by Malcolm » Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:58 pm

jikai wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:02 pm
To confirm, I don't read Tibetan so I can't confirm it's the same as the Chinese. However, there is quite a lot of scholarship that suggests this. I have spoken to people who can read Tibetan and Chinese, and they largely agree it is Kuiji's text, not a Sinhalese work. Even if we don't accept that the evidence for the text being Kuiji's is conclusive, the fact that it is a translation from Chinese, and that even if it isn't a chinese text originally, Sinhalese doesn't necessarily equal Indian.
The colophon of the Tibetan is pretty clear, the commentary was written by a Sinhalese ācārya named Prthivibandhu, but this does not a) bar him from having written the commentary in China, b) does not bar him from having been a student of Xuanzang, and c) does not bar him from being privy to debates about Mahāyāna sūtras and their Indian interpretation because a) being Sinhalese does not bar one from traveling to India or China and b) does not bar one from having a Chinese Buddhist teacher.

Further, the fact that Tibetan text is shorter than its Chinese sister could very well mean that the Chinese commentary was amended with further chapters after the text was translated into Tibetan, either from Sanskrti or Chinese. There is no indication in the Tibetan colophon of the Dege edition as to whether it was translated from Sanskrit or Chinese.

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by Caoimhghín » Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:52 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:58 pm
jikai wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:02 pm
To confirm, I don't read Tibetan so I can't confirm it's the same as the Chinese. However, there is quite a lot of scholarship that suggests this. I have spoken to people who can read Tibetan and Chinese, and they largely agree it is Kuiji's text, not a Sinhalese work. Even if we don't accept that the evidence for the text being Kuiji's is conclusive, the fact that it is a translation from Chinese, and that even if it isn't a chinese text originally, Sinhalese doesn't necessarily equal Indian.
The colophon of the Tibetan is pretty clear, the commentary was written by a Sinhalese ācārya named Prthivibandhu, but this does not a) bar him from having written the commentary in China, b) does not bar him from having been a student of Xuanzang, and c) does not bar him from being privy to debates about Mahāyāna sūtras and their Indian interpretation because a) being Sinhalese does not bar one from traveling to India or China and b) does not bar one from having a Chinese Buddhist teacher.
Indeed. To add to this, if anyone is further interested, you can find substantiations for many Mahāyāna sūtras that were retrieved from Sri Lanka before Abhayagirivihāra fell out of favour.

Similarly, we have the EA (Ekottarāgama), from Sri Lanka, retrieved by the Venerable Fǎxiǎn some time during the 400s. EA is a particularly interesting collection for those interested in the textual history of Mahāyāna sūtras on account of the intermixed (and likely very early) outrightly Mahāyāna sections in what would otherwise be considered, uncontroversially, an 'ETB' (Early Buddhist Text).
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

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Re: Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha

Post by jikai » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:29 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:58 pm
jikai wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:02 pm
To confirm, I don't read Tibetan so I can't confirm it's the same as the Chinese. However, there is quite a lot of scholarship that suggests this. I have spoken to people who can read Tibetan and Chinese, and they largely agree it is Kuiji's text, not a Sinhalese work. Even if we don't accept that the evidence for the text being Kuiji's is conclusive, the fact that it is a translation from Chinese, and that even if it isn't a chinese text originally, Sinhalese doesn't necessarily equal Indian.

The colophon of the Tibetan is pretty clear, the commentary was written by a Sinhalese ācārya named Prthivibandhu, but this does not a) bar him from having written the commentary in China, b) does not bar him from having been a student of Xuanzang, and c) does not bar him from being privy to debates about Mahāyāna sūtras and their Indian interpretation because a) being Sinhalese does not bar one from traveling to India or China and b) does not bar one from having a Chinese Buddhist teacher.

Further, the fact that Tibetan text is shorter than its Chinese sister could very well mean that the Chinese commentary was amended with further chapters after the text was translated into Tibetan, either from Sanskrti or Chinese. There is no indication in the Tibetan colophon of the Dege edition as to whether it was translated from Sanskrit or Chinese.
Sure, I can concede that the colophon might be very clear, and I will take your word for it Loppon as I can only read the Chinese and Japanese literature. But it wouldn't be the first time a colophon clearly stated something that wasn't so.

Indeed, he may have written it in China, in which case case we need to allow the possibility that the text writer was limited in the resources they could draw from. Admittedly that isn't a huge niggle, but perhaps it gives us pause in stating it as an authoritarian representation of Indian views on the Sutra.

If he Indeed was the student of Xuanzang, the idea regarding his being a Yogacarin, and therefore having a number of doctrinal standpoints which put him at odds with interpreting the letter of the text, or at the very least interpreting the letter of the text in a certain way, still stands. Suggesting again, that at best his commentary could only be considered authoritarian of a certain Indian interpretation.

As a student of Xuanzang, his commentary would as I mentioned have similar authority to the commentary of Daosheng. In fact, given that he assisted Kumarajiva translate the Lotus Sutra itself, and that Kumarajiva appears to have been somewhat more madhyamika, we might give it more weight than otherwise.

Certainly being Sinhalese does not bar one from a) travelling to India or China, b) being privy to Indian Mahāyāna debates, or c) having a Chinese teacher, but all of those caveats are unknown to us, or at least require us to keep them at a distance in order to suggest that it can be put forward as a strong case for an Indian interpretation perhaps.

Also, and forgive me if I'm misreading the situation Loppon, but the Dege Tengyur is quite a late edition of the canon? That means that even if we take it at face value as a Sinhalese work, we still have the problem that a work attributed to Prthivibandhu isn't found in the main East Asian canons (I couldn't find such a commentary in Chinese- but if someone is aware of it, please let me know). If it was translated from Chinese, or from someone in China writing in Sanskrit while in China- the fact that it is on a text so intrinsically important in the east would suggest reference made to it, or to Prthivibandhu. I am aware that that isn't necessarily the case, but it would be odd in my mind given it is the Lotus Sutra.

I will concede that the length of the text alone doesn't preclude anything. That point only matters if the others hold. But if the colophon makes no statement conclusively about it being a translation from Sanskrit or Chinese, surely we have another moment of 'pause' before it is heralded as the Indian standard.

Just to be clear, I am not weighing in here, on any of the specifics of your points raised here Loppon. Simply thought that the fact that there is a reasonable degree of contention about the source commentary should be made clear.
"止觀明靜前代未聞"
(摩訶止觀)

"此妙法蓮花經者本地甚深之奧藏也"
( 法華玄義)

"觀心者空觀是般若假觀是解脫中觀是法身"
(法華文句)

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