Buddhist mythology

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
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Sko
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Buddhist mythology

Post by Sko » Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:53 pm

As we all know, Buddhism in its more simplistic form focuses on practice and development and the escape from samsara. But culturally there's far more complexities than the basic practice would have you believe; the specifics of all 16-ish Narakas including Yama and his Ox-head and Horse-face guardians, Mount Sumeru and the heavens, the Formless and the Form and the Desire realms, etc. In your opinion, how important do you think it is to acquaint yourself with Buddhist mythology for you in your practice and others in their practice?

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Indrajala
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Re: Buddhist mythology

Post by Indrajala » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:01 pm

A lot of Buddhist scripture will not make much sense without understanding the basics of Buddhist cosmology and mythology.
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rory
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Re: Buddhist mythology

Post by rory » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:01 am

You definitely should become acquainted with mythology and iconography. This is a Japan-centric link I find very useful. There are all the esoteric and modern varieties of Avalokitesvara and even obscure deities like the 4 Guardian Kings, Bonten (Brahma) etc with their iconography and discussion.
http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/family-tree.shtml
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Buddhist mythology

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:53 am

If you are comparing how mythological all that stuff is
to how real and unmythological you yourself are,
then it is not very important.
But if you see the mythology in what you have made up as yourself, that you take for real,
and then look at these Buddhist things in that context,
then they can have very profound meaning.

BTW, it's funny that your Dharma Wheel avatar is "DW". :tongue:
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Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Buddhist mythology

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:32 am

Sko wrote:As we all know, Buddhism in its more simplistic form focuses on practice and development and the escape from samsara. But culturally there's far more complexities than the basic practice would have you believe; the specifics of all 16-ish Narakas including Yama and his Ox-head and Horse-face guardians, Mount Sumeru and the heavens, the Formless and the Form and the Desire realms, etc. In your opinion, how important do you think it is to acquaint yourself with Buddhist mythology for you in your practice and others in their practice?

They aren't separable..there is no "Buddhist philosophy" separate from the worldview of the myths, the only question is what conclusions you draw from the myths. You can take the mythology and be quite skeptical, and still draw essentially the same conclusions about life that someone who takes a more literal interpretation does.

It's important to focus on the implications of things, not whether or not they match up with your worldview when you try to interpret them literally.
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odysseus
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Re: Buddhist mythology

Post by odysseus » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:20 pm

There are many Buddhist stories with mythology. It could be helpful to know a bit about them when you read stories.

I myself try to strip my Buddhism of all the mythological and cultural nuances to make a "modern" Buddhism for myself. I don´t take mythology so seriously. But I accept the rebirth and karma doctrines of course.
Let a man not seek for the respect of his peers, let him seek wisdom.

-- Dhammapada

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Admin_PC
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Re: Buddhist mythology

Post by Admin_PC » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:24 pm

odysseus wrote:There are many Buddhist stories with mythology. It could be helpful to know a bit about them when you read stories.

I myself try to strip my Buddhism of all the mythological and cultural nuances to make a "modern" Buddhism for myself. I don´t take mythology so seriously. But I accept the rebirth and karma doctrines of course.
Why the heck would you want to do that?
Half of the teaching can be in the metaphor behind the myth...
月影の いたらぬ里は なけれども 眺むる人の 心にぞすむ
法然上人

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Seishin
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Re: Buddhist mythology

Post by Seishin » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:40 pm

rory wrote:You definitely should become acquainted with mythology and iconography. This is a Japan-centric link I find very useful. There are all the esoteric and modern varieties of Avalokitesvara and even obscure deities like the 4 Guardian Kings, Bonten (Brahma) etc with their iconography and discussion.
http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/family-tree.shtml
gassho
Rory
Two thumbs up for this great link :twothumbsup: I love it and use it often.

Gassho,
Seishin

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Buddhist mythology

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:04 pm

Seishin wrote:
rory wrote:You definitely should become acquainted with mythology and iconography. This is a Japan-centric link I find very useful. There are all the esoteric and modern varieties of Avalokitesvara and even obscure deities like the 4 Guardian Kings, Bonten (Brahma) etc with their iconography and discussion.
http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/family-tree.shtml
gassho
Rory
Two thumbs up for this great link :twothumbsup: I love it and use it often.

Gassho,
Seishin
It's great, but it doesn't include Mothra or Gojira.
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.
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Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.

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