Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

RengeReciter
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Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by RengeReciter » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:45 pm

I think I get it.

When we really grasp the tenets of religion, we become capable of explaining it to ourselves and to others through an accessible, easily understood narrative that touches upon the salient points rationally and without meandering. This is a test that one of my professors in college challenged each of us students to perform with respect to our religious faiths, and it is something that I continue to do to this day to see where the holes are in my beliefs.

These past few weeks have brought with them a rather distressing bout with illness. The downtime, and the increased focus upon my practice, has afforded my mind the opportunity to really work out some of the knots of misunderstanding that I have harbored with respect to Nichiren Buddhism. I authored a thread a little while ago wherein I asked about the nature of Shakyamuni Buddha with respect to the Lotus Schools' concept of the Eternal Buddha. That thread was incredibly insightful for me (thank you all for your participation), but I still felt as though I didn't have a firm enough understanding to actually produce what I refer to as a narrative of faith.

Until now. If you'll allow me:

At some point in the unfathomably remote past, a sentient being awakened--one assumes through diligent effort of one stripe or another ("originally I practiced the bodhisattva way")--to the fundamental law that both governs and constitutes reality itself, Myoho Renge Kyo. That awakening naturally conferred on him the status of a fully realized Buddha. He became at the moment of his enlightenment the archetypal Buddha, primordial if you will. From that point forward, this Buddha has appeared throughout countless ages for the sake of other sentient beings in order to help them attain the very same status that he possesses.

The primordial Buddha's appearance for this dharma dispensation is Shakyamuni Buddha, the human being who manifested the upaya of shunned royalty and enlightenment under the bodhi tree. It is his body of teachings, culminating in the Lotus Sutra and the innovations of Bodhisattva Jogyo, that we look to for our own salvation.

A supreme cosmic irony is that we, in all of our perceived fragmentation, are already whole. We are already Buddhas in substance. Our journey is of course becoming Buddhas in identity, men and women who grasp the fullness of who and what we, are able to paradoxically stand aside from the muck of delusion while remaining unchangingly in it, and teach others to do the same. Each of us will eventually arrive at this state, but the question is a matter of when. How much suffering do you wish to imbibe before you learn to pull yourself from the spigot?

Please, tell me where I might have erred.

Thank You.

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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by Queequeg » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:19 pm

Well, you went out on a limb, so I'll go out on a limb. :cheers:

The following comments are my own - don't take them as anything more than opinion. I'll try to provide citations.
RengeReciter wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:45 pm
At some point in the unfathomably remote past, a sentient being awakened--one assumes through diligent effort of one stripe or another ("originally I practiced the bodhisattva way")--to the fundamental law that both governs and constitutes reality itself, Myoho Renge Kyo. That awakening naturally conferred on him the status of a fully realized Buddha. He became at the moment of his enlightenment the archetypal Buddha, primordial if you will. From that point forward, this Buddha has appeared throughout countless ages for the sake of other sentient beings in order to help them attain the very same status that he possesses.
This is the Eternal/Primordial Buddha thing that has been causing much stress.

On one hand, this is correct - the Buddha we know as Shakyamuni really attained enlightenment at some remote, yet finite, time in the past.

The problem with this is that for Buddhahood to be attained, Buddhahood had to a priori be an option. Further, since the Lotus Sutra is always the gate to Buddhahood, it needed to be taught by an even more primordial buddha, and so really, that Buddha is the primordial buddha - and yet that buddha needed to hear the Lotus Sutra, also... you see here we end up in an infinite regression. Which, I would point out, is the teaching Shakyamuni conveys in the sermon called the Lotus Sutra. What we see are repeated regressions to long distant times when the same sequence of events played out - in the first chapter we learn of Manjusri and Maitreya's previous exposure to the Lotus Sutra (the latter, who was apparently a bad disciple doesn't remember it); we learn of a long distant time when Shakyamuni was the 16th son of another Buddha and heard the Lotus Sutra then; and then in the 16th Chapter, the Buddha explains that all these other Buddhas are his emanations. At the same time, the Lotus is an account of a teaching that happened more or less in the present - some 2500 years ago in India, echoing the events described to have happened in the past; and presumably, to occur in the future. The Buddhas appear in the world, teach expediently for a time, and sometimes, when the circumstances are right, they teach the Lotus Sutra.

What we see, then, are infinitely expanding contexts in which Buddha is a constant in the past, present, and future.

Yet, the past, present, and future, are illusory... when we examine carefully, these are constructs projected onto the Thought Moment (ichinen).

In ichinen sanzen, the Buddha is not quite a specific being, but rather the constant function of Buddhahood appearing in response to the needs of beings. This is not really problematic unless we project our notions of self onto Buddhahood. Its only then that we find ourselves in the distress of infinite regression, looking for that real primordial Buddha who we think will finally bring the certainty against which we can identify our true self and thereby end the suffering due to the insubtantiality of dharmas. Instead, when we, through the Buddha's perfect teachings, really see the Buddha, we see the real aspect, which is completely inert to projections of self, and yet, encompassing such mistaken notions...

But this is a digression off into ichinen sanzen.
The primordial Buddha's appearance for this dharma dispensation is Shakyamuni Buddha, the human being who manifested the upaya of shunned royalty and enlightenment under the bodhi tree. It is his body of teachings, culminating in the Lotus Sutra
As explained in the Life Span chapter of the Lotus Sutra, being born in Lumbini, awakening at Gaya, teaching at Sarnath and other places, and passing away at Kusinagara, this was all upaya. The Lotus Sutra is actually a different type of teaching. It is not upaya. It is the Buddha teaching directly without expedients. Of course, even this teaching has all the marks of an expedient. According to Zhiyi, this is the nature of the Sudden and Perfect Teaching - it appears as expedients. In Fahua Hsuan-i (Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra), Zhiyi explains what he calls Relative Myo (as in Myohorengekyo) and Absolute Myo. Relative Myo is the expedient teaching which progresses from relative coarseness to relative sublimity. Nichiren applies this teaching in many gosho including Kanjin no Honzon Sho (Object of Refuge for Observing the Mind) to explain how Buddhist teachings are superior to non-Buddhist; Mahayana superior to Hinayana; True Mahayana superior to Provisional Mahayana, Lotus Superior to all other teachings; the Essential Teaching superior to the Trace Teachings. Absolute Myo is sublimity as the Buddha knows it. It is not relative to anything. It is the way the Buddha sees all dharmas, including all the relative dharamas we perceive as Relative Myo.

The Buddha who teaches the Lotus Sutra teaches the Absolute Myo. Zhiyi identified this Absolute Myo as the Lotus Sutra, Myohorengekyo. Nichiren taught refuge in Myohorengekyo, the absolute Myo. The Absolute Myo is a quantum leap different from the Relative Myo.
and the innovations of Bodhisattva Jogyo, that we look to for our own salvation.
Jogyo was entrusted with the Absolute Myo. Jogyo, we believe, appeared as Nichiren to spread the Absolute Myo.
A supreme cosmic irony is that we, in all of our perceived fragmentation, are already whole. We are already Buddhas in substance. Our journey is of course becoming Buddhas in identity, men and women who grasp the fullness of who and what we, are able to paradoxically stand aside from the muck of delusion while remaining unchangingly in it, and teach others to do the same. Each of us will eventually arrive at this state, but the question is a matter of when. How much suffering do you wish to imbibe before you learn to pull yourself from the spigot?
I think you've more or less ended up at the same conclusion - "able to paradoxically stand aside from the muck of delusion while remaining unchangingly in it". This is the implication of the Relative and Absolute Myo teaching, and this is born out in the explanation of the Sudden and Perfect teaching in Moho Chih-kuan (Great Samatha and Vipasyana).

Anyway, two cent.
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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by Malcolm » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:27 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:19 pm

The problem with this is that for Buddhahood to be attained, Buddhahood had to a priori be an option. Further, since the Lotus Sutra is always the gate to Buddhahood, it needed to be taught by an even more primordial buddha, and so really, that Buddha is the primordial buddha - and yet that buddha needed to hear the Lotus Sutra, also... you see here we end up in an infinite regression.
This specific infinite regress is not regarded as a fault. There is no beginning to buddhas nor sentient beings. So there is no problem.
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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by Queequeg » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:35 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:27 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:19 pm

The problem with this is that for Buddhahood to be attained, Buddhahood had to a priori be an option. Further, since the Lotus Sutra is always the gate to Buddhahood, it needed to be taught by an even more primordial buddha, and so really, that Buddha is the primordial buddha - and yet that buddha needed to hear the Lotus Sutra, also... you see here we end up in an infinite regression.
This specific infinite regress is not regarded as a fault. There is no beginning to buddhas nor sentient beings. So there is no problem.
It is a problem if you go down that infinite regression trying to hit something solid, looking for that one essential dharma that will catalyze reality into the solidity that our grasping mind thinks will lead to happiness. Its bound to end in disappointment. On the other hand, accepting it as the way things really are is (said to be) liberating...
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

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Great for solving problems, after it creates the problems."
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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by Malcolm » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:38 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:35 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:27 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:19 pm

The problem with this is that for Buddhahood to be attained, Buddhahood had to a priori be an option. Further, since the Lotus Sutra is always the gate to Buddhahood, it needed to be taught by an even more primordial buddha, and so really, that Buddha is the primordial buddha - and yet that buddha needed to hear the Lotus Sutra, also... you see here we end up in an infinite regression.
This specific infinite regress is not regarded as a fault. There is no beginning to buddhas nor sentient beings. So there is no problem.
It is a problem if you go down that infinite regression trying to hit something solid, looking for that one essential dharma that will catalyze reality into the solidity that our grasping mind thinks will lead to happiness. Its bound to end in disappointment. On the other hand, accepting it as the way things really are is (said to be) liberating...
What I am saying is that this issue of infinite regress has been addressed by Indian masters in the past, and they find it to be a nonissue. They accept it since it is consistent with the Buddhist doctrine of dependent origination.
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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by Queequeg » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:45 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:38 pm
What I am saying is that this issue of infinite regress has been addressed by Indian masters in the past, and they find it to be a nonissue. They accept it since it is consistent with the Buddhist doctrine of dependent origination.
There is no dispute from me. I'm addressing the distress of identifying the Eternal Buddha that has been playing out on these boards over the last few weeks/months.

On that note... do you have references to the Indian masters discussed these issues?
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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by Malcolm » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:13 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:45 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:38 pm
What I am saying is that this issue of infinite regress has been addressed by Indian masters in the past, and they find it to be a nonissue. They accept it since it is consistent with the Buddhist doctrine of dependent origination.
There is no dispute from me. I'm addressing the distress of identifying the Eternal Buddha that has been playing out on these boards over the last few weeks/months.

On that note... do you have references to the Indian masters discussed these issues?
Nagarjuna addresses it in the MMK somewhere.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:30 pm

Buddhadharma does have notions of cyclic time; kalpas of varying lengths within Mahakalpas etc.

So it may be that an Adi Buddha is primordial or first for a particular world system & kalpa. Whether 'our' Adi Buddha as Samantabhadra or Vairocana or Vajradhara is identical in every way with those other Adi Buddhas.... ??
The greatest homage we can pay to truth is to use it. -- Emerson

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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by RengeReciter » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:56 pm

There is quite a bit to unpack here, and I will be able to comment further after digesting more thoroughly.

One question, however, immediately comes to mind:

If the Eternal Buddha, described more accurately as a function rather than a personage, transcends our common notions of self, has sectarian emphasis on nailing down the true object of worship been for naught? Does it matter if we revere the EB as Shakyamuni, Nichiren, or MHRK itself since there is always a more primordial Buddha that stands as mentor to the Buddha in question?

edit: clarity in sentence structure

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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by RengeReciter » Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:14 pm

Something just clicked, Queequeg, after reading through your initial response again.

The true Buddha is in fact that ever-abiding principle of reality itself, Myoho Renge Kyo.

Because the Buddha is therefore eternal, it is only logical to assert that the function of the Buddha--that is, to rescue living beings--is likewise eternal.

For the function of the Buddha to be eternal, the components that allow for the execution of that function (deluded and enlightened beings) must also be eternal.

If both deluded beings and enlightened beings are eternal, then the process of enlightening beings is perpetual, unending.

The great mystery of Mahayana is thus: all beings continually receive the illumination of the Buddha. The Buddha is all living beings. All living beings constantly bring themselves into fruition.

We pay reverence and respect to provisional Buddhas that appear, through expedient means, to carry out this Great Work because it gives the mind enough rest to focus on the true goal: the unmitigated expression of compassion for all living beings!

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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by Queequeg » Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:56 pm

RR,

I want to say that I agree with your synopsis, and do, with this caveat - its sort of like that. We have to be wary of turning ideas into solid realities. These are ways to think about and understand reality, guide us to direct knowledge, but they are not direct knowledge, until they actually are direct knowledge.

Its also more than what you wrote - the Buddhist sutras and commentaries run to hundreds, if not thousands of volumes. There is always more to learn, ever subtler understandings.

What you wrote is a pretty good description of the world view through the lens of ichinen sanzen, from certain vantage points. It is again a little different if you change your vantage point, and keeping flexibility to see the various views is also a key aspect of ichinen sanzen.
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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by Queequeg » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:03 pm

RengeReciter wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:56 pm
If the Eternal Buddha, described more accurately as a function rather than a personage, transcends our common notions of self, has sectarian emphasis on nailing down the true object of worship been for naught? Does it matter if we revere the EB as Shakyamuni, Nichiren, or MHRK itself since there is always a more primordial Buddha that stands as mentor to the Buddha in question?
The teachings matter, because Relative Myo is still true. Some teachings are more correct than others. Some teachings are simply wrong.
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

"Language is the liquid that we're all dissolved in.
Great for solving problems, after it creates the problems."
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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by Minobu » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:08 pm

the thing is ...we know how long this immeasurable thing is before it turns in on itself and becomes eternal.
you cannot talk of primordials when you live in a circle of time.

So the Law of Myoho Renge Kyo becomes the Eternal Buddha of all Buddhas.

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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by Queequeg » Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:24 pm

Myohorengekyo=Shakyamuni...

A lot of ink spilled because people either want to distinguish those two, say they're the same, that one is REALLY the other, that one or the other is the real identity...

The best advice I read a few years ago on the tusker sangha newsgroup which I rebelled against at the time with some intellectual retort was...

just chant the daimoku without attachment or intention... just settle into it... ride it...
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

"Language is the liquid that we're all dissolved in.
Great for solving problems, after it creates the problems."
-Modest Mouse

"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world!"
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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by illarraza » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:12 am

RengeReciter wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:56 pm
There is quite a bit to unpack here, and I will be able to comment further after digesting more thoroughly.

One question, however, immediately comes to mind:

If the Eternal Buddha, described more accurately as a function rather than a personage, transcends our common notions of self, has sectarian emphasis on nailing down the true object of worship been for naught? Does it matter if we revere the EB as Shakyamuni, Nichiren, or MHRK itself since there is always a more primordial Buddha that stands as mentor to the Buddha in question?

edit: clarity in sentence structure
I whole heartily disagree that the Eternal Buddha is merely an impersonal truth principle. That is not Nichiren Daishonin's teaching of a very real Buddha (Ri-Butsu) who is Parent, Teacher, and Sovereign of all mankind and the one who saves us from the various sufferings and travails. He should not be confused with Buddha-nature nor should he be confused with His teaching or Law which is Namu Myoho renge kyo. We have profound gratitude for Shakyamuni Buddha because he has bestowed upon us the Five or Seven Characters and the Gohonzon which contain all his merits and virtues. The head of the SGI study department has this to say:

"I would like to focus on the fact that Shakyamuni instructed his disciples just before his demise to make the Law their teacher. Generally, faith in an impersonal Law, due to its very impersonality, makes it difficult for people feel a sense of reverence toward the Law and often results in diminished religious zeal. To overcome this difficultly to revere the Law as the teacher, the need arises for a human teacher who can show people the Law through their teaching and behavior [a not so veiled reference to Daisaku Ikeda]. This allows individuals to sense the compassionate workings of the Law as an indivisible part of the teacher's life. In this way, respect for the Law as the fundamental teacher begins to blossom in people's hearts. Bergson asserted that Buddhism lacks zeal, but I believe that Buddhists who persevere on the path of mentor and disciple, living a life of compassion based on the Law, can also obtain a level of apostolic passion evidenced by believers of monotheistic religions. In addition, because their lives are actively engaged with the ultimate Law of the cosmos, they do not lose sight of their fundamental subjectivity. By maintaining steadfast faith in the Law, Buddhist mentors and disciples keep their passion as practitioners fresh and strive to pursue a human-centered practice."

Dr. Mikio Matsuoka
Researcher, Institute of Oriental Philosophy
Head of Doctrinal Studies, Association of Reformist Priests
Head of Soka Gakkai Study Department

Nichiren and his disciples however choose Shakyamuni Buddha as their mentor [Master] rather than Daisaku Ikeda or the High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu:

“Now , when the Eternal Buddha was revealed in the essential section of the Lotus Sutra, this world of endurance (Saha-world) became the Eternal Pure Land, indestructible even by the three calamities of conflagration, flooding, and strong winds, which are said to destroy the world. It transcends the four periods of cosmic change: the kalpa of construction, continuance, destruction and emptiness. Sakyamuni Buddha, the Lord-preacher of this pure land, has never died in the past, nor will He be born in the future. He exists forever throughout the past present and future. All those who receive His GUIDANCE are one with this Eternal Buddha.” -- The True Object of Worship

“Since Sakyamuni Buddha is eternal and all other Buddhas in the universe are his manifestations, then those great bodhisattvas converted by manifested Buddhas are also disciples of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha. If the “Life Span of the Buddha” chapter had not been expounded, it would be like the sky without the sun and moon, a country without a king, mountains and rivers without gems, or a man without a soul. nevertheless, seemingly knowledgeable men of such provisional schools of Buddhism as Ch’eng-kuan of the Hua-yen, Chia-hsiang of the San-lun, Tz’u-en of the Fa-hsiang, and Kobo of the shingon tried to extol their own canons by stating: “The Lord of the Flower Garland Sutra represents the reward-body (hojin) of the Buddha wheras that of the Lotus Sutra the accomodative body (ojin);” or “the Buddha in the sixteenth chapter of the Lotus is an Illusion; it is the great Sun Buddha who is enlightened.” clouds cover the moon and slanderers hide wise men. When people slander, ordinary yellow rocks appear to be of gold and slanderers seem to be wise. Scholars in this age of decay, blinded by slanderous words, do not see the value of a gold in the “Lifespan of the Buddha” chapter. Even among men of the Tendai school some are fooled into taking a yellow rock for gold. They should know that if Sakyamuni had not been the Eternal Buddha, there could not have been so many who received GUIDANCE from Him.” -- The Opening of the Eyes

“Shakyamuni Buddha our father and mother, who is endowed with the three virtues of soverign, teacher and parent, is the very one who encourages us, the people driven out by all the other Buddhas, saying, ‘I alone can save them’. The debt of gratitude we owe him is deeper than the ocean, weightier than the earth, vaster than the sky. Though we were to pluck out our two eyes and place them before him as an offering until there were more eyes there than stars in the sky, though we were to strip off our skins and spread them out by the hundreds of ten thousands until they blanketed the ceiling of heaven, though we were to give him our tears as offerings of water and present him with flowers for the space of a hundred billion kalpas, though we were to offer him our flesh and blood for innumerable kalpas, until our flesh piled up like mountains and our blood overflowed like vast seas, we could never repay a fraction of the debt we owe to this Buddha!” (MW vol 4, The Learned Shan-wu-wei, pg 64)

“The various Buddhas [other than Shakyamuni], since they are known as World Honored One, may be regarded as Sovereigns. But since they do not make their appearance in this saha world, they are not teachers. Nor do they declare that ‘…the living beings in it (this threefold world) are all my children’. Thus, Shakyamuni Buddha alone fulfills the three functions of Sovereign, Teacher and Parent.” (MW vol 7, On Prayer, pg 34)

“However, later seeking and entering the deep cave, you see a single hermitage. The voices of the reading and reciting of the Hokekyo echo against blue heaven and the words of discussing the doctrine of the One Vehicle are heard in the midst of the mountains. Informing [them, of your presence and requesting] admittance, you enter the chamber, place your mother’s bones before the Master of Teachings Lord Shakya, cast your five limbs to the ground, press your palms together, and opening your two eyes, look up to the Holy Face: joy overflows your body and the pain of your heart suddenly ceases.”(On forgetting Ones Copy Of The Lotus Sutra, NOPPA Translation)

Mark

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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by Queequeg » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:23 pm

If we say that the Eternal Buddha is just principle, then we are dividing the Buddha's bodies and identifying only the Dharmakaya which is inert to sentient beings. Nichiren emphasized that the Eternal Buddha is Triple Bodied, meaning that the Sambhogakaya (wisdom) and Nirmanakaya (activity) are inseparable from each other and the Dharmakaya. If we say that the Buddha is only the Shakyamuni who appeared in India, we are emphasizing only the Nirmanakaya. We run into a similar problem when we only consider the Buddha's wisdom.

To quote myself:

viewtopic.php?f=59&t=26797&start=40#p412818
The Threefold Buddhanature corresponds to the first three of the Ten Factors -

Appearance - Conventional Truth/Pratitya Samutpada (Dependent Origination) - Conditional Cause - Nirmanakaya - Kaidan - Spacelike Immovable Precept

Nature - Absolute Truth/Emptiness (Sunyata) - Complete Cause - Sambhogakaya - Daimoku -Spacelike Immovable Wisdom

Essence - Middle Way - Direct Cause - Dharmakaya Gohonzon - Spacelike Immovable Samadhi-
As Mark points out, Buddha is not merely some impersonal principle. Buddha is perfectly responsive to beings needs and circumstances - not simply in a paternalistic, stoic way, but in the completely human way of responding compassionately to the distraught beings of the world. A clinician can look at a broken human being and diagnose how they are broken. A Buddha compassionately understands the thoughts, words, and deeds that brought about the broken condition and how to mend the person. These are the Buddha's power of upaya, responding in the manner the person needs.

The Buddha appeared as a man to show beings caught up in the vanity of human life how to transcend these limitations and gain perfect liberation. At the same time, Buddha never was anything but Dharmakaya - reality principle - also. We don't need to choose, they are one and the same.

For me, trained in the assumptions of Scientific Materialism, the principle was conventional wisdom. It took more work to understand that the world is actually a compassionate buddhafield in which the entirety is the Buddha Vehicle.
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Minobu
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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by Minobu » Fri Nov 03, 2017 5:45 pm

illarraza wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:12 am
. The head of the SGI study department has this to say:

"I would like to focus on the fact that Shakyamuni instructed his disciples just before his demise to make the Law their teacher. Generally, faith in an impersonal Law, due to its very impersonality, makes it difficult for people feel a sense of reverence toward the Law and often results in diminished religious zeal. To overcome this difficultly to revere the Law as the teacher, the need arises for a human teacher who can show people the Law through their teaching and behavior [a not so veiled reference to Daisaku Ikeda]. This allows individuals to sense the compassionate workings of the Law as an indivisible part of the teacher's life. In this way, respect for the Law as the fundamental teacher begins to blossom in people's hearts. Bergson asserted that Buddhism lacks zeal, but I believe that Buddhists who persevere on the path of mentor and disciple, living a life of compassion based on the Law, can also obtain a level of apostolic passion evidenced by believers of monotheistic religions. In addition, because their lives are actively engaged with the ultimate Law of the cosmos, they do not lose sight of their fundamental subjectivity. By maintaining steadfast faith in the Law, Buddhist mentors and disciples keep their passion as practitioners fresh and strive to pursue a human-centered practice."

Dr. Mikio Matsuoka
Researcher, Institute of Oriental Philosophy
Head of Doctrinal Studies, Association of Reformist Priests
Head of Soka Gakkai Study Department



Mark
ok not to derail the thread, but this is important on a few levels.

First...is the Gakki really saying Ikeda fulfills the need for a human teacher to show people the Law through their teaching and behaviour ?

I mean how far are they going with this which becomes follow the person for the person is your way to know the Law.

i ask for i still have this thing about shakubuku and where to bring shakubuku ...



what is Dr. Matsuoka actually saying here?
but I believe that Buddhists who persevere on the path of mentor and disciple, living a life of compassion based on the Law, can also obtain a level of apostolic passion evidenced by believers of monotheistic religions


apostolic look up this word people...it is to do with the pope's lineage to St.Peter...i mean is the Dr. seriously telling us to follow a man to this level..?

sorry it's been since the first year of the break up that i have been in a SGI meeting...i have this Alice in wonderland view of it being some sort of Utopian centre for shakubuku .

Like Q here has really mentored me, i don;t think he knows this but he has..Mark you add to this as well..as do people from other sections of this site....but you guys are not like looking for me to praise you in the sense of being pope like.


sorry but this is part and parcel to our faith..it is a very large part of it and misdirects people to an extent of actually being Sansho Shima ....

night mare...Do they really want to portray ikeda as some sort of apostolic mentor and leader of people...???????



edit...cannot fix the bold...sorry..not suppossed to be all bold.

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Queequeg
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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by Queequeg » Fri Nov 03, 2017 7:13 pm

Minobu wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 5:45 pm
ok not to derail the thread, but this is important on a few levels.

First...is the Gakki really saying Ikeda fulfills the need for a human teacher to show people the Law through their teaching and behaviour ?

I mean how far are they going with this which becomes follow the person for the person is your way to know the Law.

i ask for i still have this thing about shakubuku and where to bring shakubuku ...
This is not a definitive answer by any means, but some thoughts on what you are asking.

In the Nichiren Lineage thread I critiqued the "oral transmission" assertion. At the heart, there is no essential oral transmission. The only essential transmission is the Daimoku, and that can be transmitted through almost any medium. However, the Daimoku is like a seed - planting it is only the first step. It might grow wild on its own. I have tomato plants in my yard that have just grown from seeds that fell on the ground the year before. However, the plants I actively care for tend to grow much better. When watered and trained, they grow up right. When pruned, the growth is healthy and robust, and the fruit turns out better. Practicing with a community, with a teacher, is like a plant being tended. The Teacher Disciple (or Mentor Disciple as SG puts it) dynamic is not the problem.

Nichiren talked about others following him, but in following him, he directed them to the Lotus. If you want to follow Nichiren, do as he does - NMRK.

Ikeda did the same thing. If you read his actual stuff, his old speeches, etc., he was always directing people to the Gohonzon, to the Daimoku, to their practice. Its the people around him that deify him. And its too bad. I think he got surrounded by sycophants without realizing it and it took him off course. Those people, I think, have turned Ikeda into a fetish.

SG is so disappointing because they get so much right, and yet, on critical points, they totally screw up.
what is Dr. Matsuoka actually saying here?
but I believe that Buddhists who persevere on the path of mentor and disciple, living a life of compassion based on the Law, can also obtain a level of apostolic passion evidenced by believers of monotheistic religions
apostolic look up this word people...it is to do with the pope's lineage to St.Peter...i mean is the Dr. seriously telling us to follow a man to this level..?
Apostolic is a bad word choice. They have a Buddhist word - virya. I don't know why they do such dumb things.
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

"Language is the liquid that we're all dissolved in.
Great for solving problems, after it creates the problems."
-Modest Mouse

"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world!"
-The Grateful Dead

RengeReciter
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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by RengeReciter » Fri Nov 03, 2017 7:14 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:24 pm
Myohorengekyo=Shakyamuni...

A lot of ink spilled because people either want to distinguish those two, say they're the same, that one is REALLY the other, that one or the other is the real identity...

The best advice I read a few years ago on the tusker sangha newsgroup which I rebelled against at the time with some intellectual retort was...

just chant the daimoku without attachment or intention... just settle into it... ride it...
I find it endlessly ironic that my Catholic upbringing provided me with something of a "Lotus-sized" space in my mind's eye through which I could better grasp the inseparability of Myohorengekyo and Shakyamuni. If I may draw the analogy without inadvertently subscribing to a wholly wrong view, it seems that the relationship between the Buddha and the Law that he taught is similar to that of Christ and the Logos.

The corporeal being is perfectly and seamlessly the manifestation of a mystical reality. To see the former is to see the fullness of the latter. Differences of course arise in the fact that MHRK is intrinsic to living beings and their environments by default. The Buddha, as one who has attained stainless realization of his oneness with the Law, transmits his understanding (or awakening) to us so that we can see what has been right under our noses since time immemorial.

Orthodox Christian cosmology posits that God created the world in a space that He utterly vacated, thus sidestepping the inevitable conclusion that the universe is comprised of God's essence. I have to hold onto these distinctions tenaciously to avoid accidentally falling into the religion of my birth.

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Re: Shakyamuni: A Narrative of Faith

Post by Queequeg » Fri Nov 03, 2017 7:25 pm

RengeReciter wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 7:14 pm
I find it endlessly ironic that my Catholic upbringing provided me with something of a "Lotus-sized" space in my mind's eye through which I could better grasp the inseparability of Myohorengekyo and Shakyamuni. If I may draw the analogy without inadvertently subscribing to a wholly wrong view, it seems that the relationship between the Buddha and the Law that he taught is similar to that of Christ and the Logos.

The corporeal being is perfectly and seamlessly the manifestation of a mystical reality. To see the former is to see the fullness of the latter. Differences of course arise in the fact that MHRK is intrinsic to living beings and their environments by default. The Buddha, as one who has attained stainless realization of his oneness with the Law, transmits his understanding (or awakening) to us so that we can see what has been right under our noses since time immemorial.

Orthodox Christian cosmology posits that God created the world in a space that He utterly vacated, thus sidestepping the inevitable conclusion that the universe is comprised of God's essence. I have to hold onto these distinctions tenaciously to avoid accidentally falling into the religion of my birth.
Someday, someone who is well informed is going to do a comparative study of the trinity and trikaya...

That is an interesting distinction...

I know many former Catholic Buddhists... that is a difficult path. :smile:
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

"Language is the liquid that we're all dissolved in.
Great for solving problems, after it creates the problems."
-Modest Mouse

"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world!"
-The Grateful Dead

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