why is Vajrayana considered the fastest way to buddhahood?

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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TRC
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by TRC »

conebeckham wrote:If the accounts of the Mahasiddhas are unsubstantiated rubbish, what about the accounts of Buddha Sakyamuni, TRC? What makes those accounts NOT unsubstantiated rubbish? For that matter, which account of Sakyamuni shall we discuss-the one where he was enlightened prior to his birth here, and merely demonstrated the path for our benefit? The one where he discovered a truth no sentient being had ever found previously? The one where he manifested as a daka and taught the Tantras?
Which ever one you like conebeckham.

None of this illustrates how the vajrayana path is fastest, however.

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Sönam
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by Sönam »

TRC wrote:
Looks like we will just have to leave the "quickest path" rhetoric in that very category - rhetoric, without actual evidence.
I can like that ... when one start to speak about actual and evidence. This is about cessation of suffering ... to be experimented if requested.

Sönam
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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santa100
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by santa100 »

From the "Great References" sutta (AN 4.180), the Buddha taught us the proper way to handle claims made by other people:
a bhikkhu might say: ‘In such and such a residence several elder bhikkhus are dwelling who are learned, heirs to the heritage, experts on the Dhamma, experts on the discipline, experts on the outlines. In the presence of those elders I heard this; in their presence I learned this: “This is the Dhamma; this is the discipline; this is the Teacher’s teaching!”’ That bhikkhu’s statement should neither be approved nor rejected. Without approving or rejecting it, you should thoroughly learn those words and phrases and then check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline. If, when you check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline, [you find that] they are not included among the discourses and are not to be seen in the discipline, you should draw the conclusion: ‘Surely, this is not the word of the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One. It has been badly learned by those elders.’ Thus you should discard it.
Then from the "Elements" discourse (MN 115), the Buddha taught this truth about Fully Enlightened Ones (SammaSambuddha):
It is impossible, it cannot happen that two Accomplished Ones, Fully Enlightened Ones, could arise contemporaneously in one world-system—there is no such possibility.
which Ven. Bodhi further explained:
the Pali commentary associated with the above text from MN 115 states: The arising of another Buddha is impossible from the time a bodhisatta takes his final conception in his mother's womb until his Dispensation has completely disappeared. The problem is discussed at Miln 236–39. The referenced Milindapanha section is entitled, Ekabuddhadhāraṇī - pañho
Bottom line is, though many masters from various schools claimed their attainment of "Buddhahood", per the suttas' teaching, it doesn't mean they have attained "Fully Enlightened" Buddha state for the Dispensation is still around. If they meant the state of Savakabuddha or Arahantship, then any Buddhist school would be just as good provided that its practitioner puts in their best effort to cultivate virtues, meditation, and wisdom (as mentioned from my previous post here)

TRC
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by TRC »

santa100 wrote:... then any Buddhist school would be just as good provided that its practitioner puts in their best effort to cultivate virtues, meditation, and wisdom (as mentioned from my previous post here)
quite right santa100, my point exactly. It is the practitioner not the path.

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rory
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by rory »

TRC wrote:
santa100 wrote:... then any Buddhist school would be just as good provided that its practitioner puts in their best effort to cultivate virtues, meditation, and wisdom (as mentioned from my previous post here)
quite right santa100, my point exactly. It is the practitioner not the path.
Well said and agreed! Now what happens in Tibetan Buddhism to the regular/mediocre practitioner? Do they face rebirth? As let's face it that's the majority. In East Asian Buddhism typically practitioners make a vow to be born in a Pure Land so as to avoid rebirth and work out their karma there. Even the Hosso (Yogacara) school has done this and it's part of my practice. I study, meditate, chant mantras and vow to be reborn in Kannon's pure land of Mt Potalaka....
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
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

krodha
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by krodha »

rory wrote:So then it's like the Hindu system of tantra which is a yoga and experiential? How is it different then from Hindu tantra?
Vajrayāna Buddhism vis-à-vis Hindu Tantra by Acharya Mahayogi Sridhar Rana Rinpoche:
http://www.byomakusuma.org/Teachings/Va ... icism.aspx

Rakz
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by Rakz »

rory wrote:
TRC wrote:
santa100 wrote:... then any Buddhist school would be just as good provided that its practitioner puts in their best effort to cultivate virtues, meditation, and wisdom (as mentioned from my previous post here)
quite right santa100, my point exactly. It is the practitioner not the path.
Well said and agreed! Now what happens in Tibetan Buddhism to the regular/mediocre practitioner? Do they face rebirth? As let's face it that's the majority. In East Asian Buddhism typically practitioners make a vow to be born in a Pure Land so as to avoid rebirth and work out their karma there. Even the Hosso (Yogacara) school has done this and it's part of my practice. I study, meditate, chant mantras and vow to be reborn in Kannon's pure land of Mt Potalaka....
gassho
Rory
I would say the majority of Tibetan Buddhists make a vow to be born in a Pure Land as well. They see it as an "insurance policy"

Adi
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by Adi »

Here are timely quotes, quite apropos to the virtual milieu here, too.

The first is why now:
During the present Age of Strife, it seems as though people are seldom amiable; rather, they are always trying to outdo one another. Our time owes its name to this fundamental competitiveness. But this is exactly the reason Vajrayana is so applicable to the present era. The stronger and more forceful the disturbing emotions are, the greater the potential for recognizing our own original wakefulness.
And the second is how it works so quickly:
Vajrayana is said to be a swift path to enlightenment, simply due to unifying means and knowledge, development stage and completion stage. Vajrayana practice involves combining the visualization of a deity together with the recognition of mind essence; that is why it is a swift path.
Quoted from Vajra Speech by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche.

As already noted there are hundreds of biographies about such practitioners available, hundreds of dharma centers to visit, and thousands of texts. So check it out if you find it interesting.

But if you don't like it, that's fine, even wonderful. However, no one need create more and more bad karma for themselves by being unkind or disrespectful to people here. This is, after all, "A Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism" and in the TOS it says Right Speech is to be upheld.

So ask away with basic politeness about what you wish to know and if the urge to speak wrongly arises, it's probably best to leave the keyboard for a while.

Adi

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kirtu
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by kirtu »

Malcolm has given the quick rundown of the reasons that Vajrayana is the fast path, albeit in an abbreviated note form. Beyond that there is little to say.

Aside from the life stories of extraordinary yogis like Milarepa and others, Tibetan texts that introduce Vajrayana itself reference sutras that are said to say that the Vajrayana is the fast path. The Lankavatara is said to be one of those.
The holder of the mantra who wishes to propitiate the mantra should not eat any meat, since it obstructs accomplishing the mantra and the obtainment of liberation.
Another sutra, mdo sde gdams ngag 'bogs pa'i rgyal po or something like the King of Advice Sutra (I'm not sure if this sutra has this exact translated name and there are said to be two titles anyway) says:
Although it is certain that all the three vehicles which lead (beings to liberation) were taught by the Lord (Buddha), why didn't you teach a sure path that practices the cause and the result spontaneously and does not search for the Buddha elsewhere? (The Buddha) answered this question, "Having turned the wheel of the cause Dharma for anyone who desires that cause, in the future the short path of the Vajrayana will arise".
Both of these references come from "The Three Visions: Fundamental Teachings of the Sakya Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism", Ngorchen Konchog Lhundrub, (p. 198). Kindle Edition.

But basically it comes down to tradition.

Vajrayana has many, many methods. These are ultimately based on Buddha Nature, yogic methods using the body and blessed practices taught originally by extraordinary Bodhisattvas like Vajrapani or by Dhayani Buddhas like Vajrasattva and extraordinary gurus like Padmasambhava. Normally tantra is taught originally in another realm and then brought to the human realm.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

JKhedrup
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by JKhedrup »

So then it's like the Hindu system of tantra which is a yoga and experiential? How is it different then from Hindu tantra?
His Holiness Sakya Trizin:
The similarity that is seen to exist between Hindu and Buddhist Tantra has sometimes led some to assume that what distinguished Buddhist philosophy from its Hindu counterpart had been forsaken with the development of Tantra. This, however, is not true, because Tantra is concerned with the means of achieving spiritual progress, not with philosophy. So the similarity between Hindu and Buddhist Tantric practices is not an indication of Hindu and Buddhist philosophies merging.

The fact, for example, that a number of terms and deities are shared by Hindu and Buddhist Tantra, does not mean that Tantric Buddhism has strayed from the essence of Buddhist thought. For instance, although a number of terms like “svabhava” and “atma” that are commonly found in Hinduism also occur in Buddhist Tantric writings, they don’t have the same meaning. The term “svabhava” which in Hinduism means the existence of an independent nature or essence, is used in Buddhist Tantra to emphasise the emptiness of all things. Thus it is said that the nature of all things is emptiness. Similarly, the term “atma”, or self, is merely used to identify one with emptiness.

The fact that several deities are worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists does not mean that Buddhist philosophy has lost its distinctive character. In the first place, the Hindu deities included in the Buddhist Tantric pantheon are deities of lesser importance. Secondly, since both Buddhism and Hinduism developed within the Indian cultural context, it is not surprising that a number of deities should be adopted by both traditions. Such deities are in themselves neither Buddhist nor Hindu, but belong to Indian culture.

In short, Tantra is concerned with methodology more than with philosophy. Not only Buddhist and Hindu, but Jain and even Islamic Tantric practices show many similarities. Despite the similarities between Buddhist and Hindu Tantric practices, Tantric Buddhism has always retained its critical philosophical attitude. It was mentioned above that there is no important philosophical difference between Tantric Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhism contains two principal philosophical schools or standpoints – that of ‘mind’ and that of ‘emptiness’. These standpoints were explained at length by Asanga and Nagarjuna, who are recognised by the Tibetan Tantric tradition as the fathers of Buddhist Tantra as we know it. And hence, there are two chief elements in Buddhist Tantric philosophy – ‘mind’ and ‘emptiness’.
- See more at: http://www.hhthesakyatrizin.org/teach_t ... KC2Wx.dpuf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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rory
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by rory »

I appreciate Ven. Khedrup your answer and quote and the excellent and detailed article that asunthatneversets linked about Tibetan tantra discussing philosophy, actually that's the first time I've ever had such nice detailed explanation, than people saying lamas give the 'pith' and Nighthawk also expained as well.

So really it's all the same; exceptions are few most are mediocre practitioners and won't get enlightened in this life, so it's up to the practitioner to find the path where he or she makes the most progress and take out pure land insurance.

though of course the Mahanirvana Sutra says that there is ultimately a true self;-)
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
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

JKhedrup
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by JKhedrup »

Yes Rory I am in complete agreement.

The method itself may be extraordinary, but the extraordinary results are not something possible for the vast majority of tantric practitioners. This is because extraordinary results require extraordinary effort, renunciation etc., and that is far more than most people are capable of.

So on the ground, it really comes down to one's effort, even though the method has distinguishing features that make it swifter.

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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by Jamyang_Tsering »

frank123 wrote:Hi

I'm new to Buddhism and exploring various traditions and schools.im wondering If it takes incalculable eons to reach buddhahood through sutra approach what makes it possible to achieve buddhahood in one lifetime through vajrayana methods?why is there such a vast difference in time?seems so extreme.

Cheers :anjali:
Hello Frank as you are new to Buddhism I wanted to let you know that Vajrayana is not the fastest path to enlightement. Actually the path is different for everyone and Vajarayana is based on tantra which uses rituals and mantras to find that mind of Buddha. Vajrayna can be difficult for people who not ready for it and I don't recomend getting into it if you don't know what your are doing and without qualified teacher dont practice tantra. One thing you need to remember that in Lotus Sutra Buddha teaching that it takes many life times to realise Buddhas wisdom or Buddahood so weather you practice Vajrayana or Mahayana there is no difference there is no fast path to enlghtenmnet as it takes many lifetimes and infinite merit to actually become a Buddha. I don't want to discorage you but I suggest you throw out the idea of enlightenment out of your mind completely. If you have any questions let me know. :namaste:

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kirtu
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by kirtu »

JKhedrup wrote: The method itself may be extraordinary, but the extraordinary results are not something possible for the vast majority of tantric practitioners. This is because extraordinary results require extraordinary effort, renunciation etc., and that is far more than most people are capable of.
While some people (who knows how many?) practicing Vajrayana may not attain extraordinary realization of wisdom in this body, nonetheless they can accumulate extraordinary heaps of merit in this very lifetime. If they keep their samaya then they will achieve enlightenment in 16-3 lifetimes on the lower tantra path and possibly within this lifetime, including at death or in the bardo, on the Highest Yoga Tantra path. So relatively speaking, Vajrayana is a much easier path, provided that one has faith in it.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

TRC
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by TRC »

Adi wrote:Here are timely quotes, quite apropos to the virtual milieu here, too.

The first is why now:
During the present Age of Strife, it seems as though people are seldom amiable; rather, they are always trying to outdo one another. Our time owes its name to this fundamental competitiveness. But this is exactly the reason Vajrayana is so applicable to the present era. The stronger and more forceful the disturbing emotions are, the greater the potential for recognizing our own original wakefulness.
And the second is how it works so quickly:
Vajrayana is said to be a swift path to enlightenment, simply due to unifying means and knowledge, development stage and completion stage. Vajrayana practice involves combining the visualization of a deity together with the recognition of mind essence; that is why it is a swift path.
Quoted from Vajra Speech by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche.

As already noted there are hundreds of biographies about such practitioners available, hundreds of dharma centers to visit, and thousands of texts. So check it out if you find it interesting.

But if you don't like it, that's fine, even wonderful. However, no one need create more and more bad karma for themselves by being unkind or disrespectful to people here. This is, after all, "A Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism" and in the TOS it says Right Speech is to be upheld.

So ask away with basic politeness about what you wish to know and if the urge to speak wrongly arises, it's probably best to leave the keyboard for a while.

Adi
These are just more claims. Claims without being backed-up with evidence are baseless. Just because it is said, doesn’t mean it is so. I didn’t think I would need to be saying this on a Buddhist forum, but there you go.

So let’s look at what we have here: We have one Buddhist tradition among many claiming to have the most relevant teachings and the fastest way to enlightenment. Do people not see that particularly in terms of Buddhadharma, that this is extremely arrogant and pejorative? This is very interesting in light of advising others to apply right speech!


Even if it were the case that the claims made by Vajrayana practitioners were true, they should be happy in the knowledge of this, without the need to boast about it.

JKhedrup
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by JKhedrup »

These are just more claims. Claims without being backed-up with evidence are baseless.
Spiritual realization isn't really quantitative. So it is hard to offer "scientific evidence" for this sort of thing.
Even if it were the case that the claims made by Vajrayana practitioners were true, they should be happy in the knowledge of this, without the need to boast about it.
On this I agree, triumphalism is not really helpful in the context of a multi-sect forum. However, from the headline of a thread, we can see what is written is an answer, from a Vajrayana POV, to a very specific question.

I have personally found in my own spiritual journey (which is rooted in the Buddhism of Tibet) that learning and practicing other traditions, especially Theravada and Chinese Hua Yen and Pure Land, has been instructive, helpful and humbling. Living in the monasteries of other traditions has led to a much greater respect for the sincerity of the practitioners of those systems.

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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by Sönam »

TRC wrote: These are just more claims. Claims without being backed-up with evidence are baseless. Just because it is said, doesn’t mean it is so. I didn’t think I would need to be saying this on a Buddhist forum, but there you go.

So let’s look at what we have here: We have one Buddhist tradition among many claiming to have the most relevant teachings and the fastest way to enlightenment. Do people not see that particularly in terms of Buddhadharma, that this is extremely arrogant and pejorative? This is very interesting in light of advising others to apply right speech!


Even if it were the case that the claims made by Vajrayana practitioners were true, they should be happy in the knowledge of this, without the need to boast about it.
The problem with your view is that you base knowledge on something completely subjective and based on a particular (empirical) approach, science ... there is not the smallest thing than can be back-uped by something called evidence. Evidence is always related to a particular system and circumstances it is not intrinsic as such ...

Sönam
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
- Longchen Rabjam -

Malcolm
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by Malcolm »

santa100 wrote: Bottom line is, though many masters from various schools claimed their attainment of "Buddhahood", per the suttas' teaching, it doesn't mean they have attained "Fully Enlightened" Buddha state for the Dispensation is still around. If they meant the state of Savakabuddha or Arahantship, then any Buddhist school would be just as good provided that its practitioner puts in their best effort to cultivate virtues, meditation, and wisdom (as mentioned from my previous post here)
Well, if your only standard is Mainstream Buddhism, such as Theravada or Sarvastivada, this is true. However, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna has a different understanding of the issue, which is more authoritative for those who follow that teaching.

Malcolm
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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by Malcolm »

TRC wrote:It has more to do with the practitioner then the path.
Yes and no.

There is no means for realizing total buddhahood in Mainstream Buddhism, not in Theravada, not in Sarvastivada nor in Dharmaguptaka, the only three Mainstream Buddhist schools left.

In Mahāyāna, total Buddhahood takes a minimum of three incalculable eons, for the best practitioner.

In Vajrayāna, total Buddhahood can be realized in a single lifetime by the best practitioner, but even if you do not practice, as long as you maintain your vows perfectly, one will achieve total Buddha within seven lifetimes.

You can either accept or reject these accounts as you wish. There is really nothing to argue about. Incidentally, I am merely reporting the assertions made in these schools. Whether one accepts these assertions or not depends upon one's own inclinations.

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Re: why is Vajrayana considered the fasted way to buddhahood

Post by Malcolm »

JKhedrup wrote:However, from the headline of a thread, we can see what is written is an answer, from a Vajrayana POV, to a very specific question.
Thank you for reminding people of this.

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