Malcolm wrote: ↑
Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:32 am
Queequeg wrote: ↑
Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:28 pm
Malcolm wrote: ↑
Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:59 pm
So define why the Saddharmapundarika is complete, and the others are not. Bearing in mind of course this notion of "complete" versus "incomplete" Mahāyāna sūtras is completely alien to Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. We prefer to argue about provisional vs. definitive, i.e. that which requires interpretation as opposed to that which does not.
Because the Buddha said the Lotus is Complete.
That does not explain "why?" Your answer amounts to this:
LOL. Come on, bro. Are you really raising questions about the Buddha's authority?
Queequeg wrote: ↑
Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:20 pm
“To sum up, in this sutra I have clearly revealed and taught all the teachings of the Tathāgata, all the transcendent powers of the Tathāgata, all the treasure houses of the hidden essence of the Tathāgata, and all the profound aspects of the Tathāgata.
In other words, the Complete teaching.
Apart from having issues with the accuracy of the translation you are using (Kumarajiva), it is clear that the text makes this statement you quote. I just don't think it means what you think it means.
While it is fair to question whether a teaching of the Buddha really means what it appears to mean, especially in light of and while discussing the Lotus Sutra which actually explains repeatedly the nature and motivation of upaya, that leaves us without much to actually discuss. After all, if we can't agree that a text means what it literally says, let alone how it could or should be interpreted, we're reduced to looking at each other and gesturing:
That, in large part, is because I have serious doubts about this notion that we can actually say that the Saddharmapundarika was taught towards the end of the Buddha's life. There is certainly no internal indication that this is the case.
Actually... in the Emerging from the Earth Chapter, Maitreya and co. are astounded when the Buddha proclaims that the multitudes of Bodhisattvas who emerge from beneath the Earth are all his disciples. Its a critical point in the sutra:
Then Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Maitreya and the innumerable other bodhisattvas became doubtful and confused concerning this unprecedented experience.
They thought this:
How is it possible in such a short time for the Bhagavat to have inspired such an immeasurable, limitless, incalculable number of great bodhisattvas, enabling them to abide in highest, complete enlightenment?
Immediately they addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! When the Tathāgata was a prince he left the palace of the Śākyas, sat on the terrace of enlightenment which is not far from the city of Gayā, and attained highest, complete enlightenment. Since then more than forty years have passed. How is it possible, O Bhagavat, for you to have done such greatbuddha acts in such a short period of time? Is it through the might of the Buddha and through the Buddha’s qualities that you have inspired such an assembly of incalculable great bodhisattvas to achieve highest, complete enlightenment?
Further, it brings up another point — if the Saddharmapunadarika is the final word, why would the Buddha bother to go on to teach the Nirvana Sūtra? Clearly, the Nirvana Sūtra comes later, since it mentions the Saddharmapunadarika by name due to its giving a prediction of buddhahood to the eighty mahāśrāvakas. It also mentions the Tathāgatagarbha Sūtra.
The Mahaparinirvana Sutra is considered a continuation of the Lotus. Actually, the entire body of the Buddha's teachings are considered a single, continuous teaching, with the Lotus at its heart.
You're stuck on a particular definition of sutra, one that you yourself don't hold, but you try to box me in with that definition. I've been pointing this out all along, in this way and that, but you just blow it off as "marketing." I can't help it if you selectively give my remarks weight depending on what is convenient for you to sustain a critique.
Once you hear it, that's it.
You've received transmission.
Without Buddhanature, no Buddha. Buddhanature and Buddha are not definitively distinguishable, except as upaya. But as upaya, they're by definition not definitive.
Buddhanature and Buddhahood are as distinct from one another as are heaven and earth. The latter comes from realizing the former. Otherwise, there would be no need for a path, etc. — a whole raft of negative consequences flow from misidentifying tathāgatagarbha as buddhahood.
I have no idea what you're saying in those two first sentences. If the latter comes from realizing the former, then the latter is dependent on the former and not "distinct from one another as are heaven and earth." To distinguish the subject and object that way has its conventional purpose, but can't be sustained.
But I think I understand the point you are trying to make - the danger of identifying the seed of Buddhahood with full blown Buddhahood. That's a fair concern - that's the Original Enlightenment problem in East Asia. We don't go there, I promise. We still go through the steps of Buddhahood, like the Buddha Gotama did; even as its a display that Shakyamuni Buddha put on as upaya. It does not make Gotama's struggle for enlightenment any less real. It does not make all those previous lives any less real. By the same token, each of our struggles for enlightenment is no less real, no less difficult.
Bob Thurman tells a bit he calls the Long Tale - in short he says, eons from now, when you sit on the bodhimanda below your tree of awakening - maybe yours will be a Sugar Maple - and remember all your previous lives, you'll see that you were Buddha all along.
You have it backwards. You have confused cause and result (again). These distinctions are not arbitrary, they are conventional. Conventions are not merely arbitrary designations. You might designate your rocking horse a horse, but it won't eat grass no matter how much you place before it.
I don't have it backwards, what I'm saying is that the cause and result can't truly be distinguished. That is what we were originally discussing in this thread. Any distinction is rather arbitrary, but quite appropriate if it leads to awakening. When no longer appropriate, it can be relinquished.
The Buddha has taught many things - such as his Parinirvana - which turn out to be upaya. This is different than being lost in the throes of delusion thinking a rocking horse is the same as a real horse. When the rich man hires his son to clean toilets, its not because he wants his toilets cleaned, but yet, in order for the son to accept that he is the rich man's son, the rich man hires his son and make him work his way up from custodian to CEO. The son works hard scrubbing those toilets. He worked hard managing the estate. The rich man originally tried to just tell his son that he was his son, but the son freaked out. Did the Buddha really have to go through all those episodes recounted in the jataka? Did he really go through all that? Are we sure that Dipamkara is not upaya? Do we really have to go through 3 aeons of strenuous practice?
The purpose of studying tenet systems is eliminate concepts you may be subscribing to unwittingly, in other words, to eliminate diseases you do not you have. For example, like the belief that tathāgatagarbha is commensurate with buddhahood.
Commensurate, sure, but not the same. Well, depends on what distinctions are appropriate at a particular time and place. You're so anxious to identify and condemn others for wrong views. Its not a good look.
That is the only Indic commentary that has survived. And, he is definitely not Chinese. There are semantic markers in Tibetan that distinguish translations from Sanskrit and translations from Chinese. This is very clear, for example, when you compare the Tibetan translation of the Nirvana Sūtra from Sanskrit and Chinese respectively.
Doesn't preclude that it was written by an ethnic Chinese, or possibly some multiracial, multicultural person of the Silk Road. Whatever, its not definitive.
Themes from the Saddharmapundarika Sūtra are cited quite frequently in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist sources. In other words, there are more sources than that commentary, and in fact, the way those sources use the Saddharmapundarika indicates what Indians found important and what they ignored. They cared little for historical assertions, for example, the three turnings of the wheel mentioned in the Samdhinirmocana, and tended to focus on that which was of doctrinal significance. Granted, this perspective is an exegetical perspective, and apart from inscriptions, we have almost no evidence of how these sūtras might have actually been treated in devotional communities in India.
Right. So, in the end, I get your criticisms. Noted. But there's nothing definitive. Again leaves us here:
Now, about that cake.