Chenresig - Ontological Dilemmas

Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Chenresig - Ontological Dilemmas

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Wed May 22, 2013 9:31 pm

Thank you all. This has been an incredibly interesting and useful discussion. I am thinking of trying to use a sadhana and visualization practice based on Shakyamuni Buddha as it venerating and taking refuge in anyone else (regardless of their ontological status) fills me with a strange sense of dread. :anjali:
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anjali
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Re: Chenresig - Ontological Dilemmas

Post by anjali » Wed May 22, 2013 10:19 pm

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Thank you all. This has been an incredibly interesting and useful discussion. I am thinking of trying to use a sadhana and visualization practice based on Shakyamuni Buddha as it venerating and taking refuge in anyone else (regardless of their ontological status) fills me with a strange sense of dread. :anjali:
I was going to suggest you consider a Shakyamuni sadhana. You bet me to the suggestion. :-) It would seem to be just right for your situation. Ask your lama for the sadhana. It's unusual in the Tibetan tradition, but not unheard of. [edit] You might already know this, but there can be two types of Shakyamuni sadhanas--sutric and tantric. The difference is what's going on during the visualization of the Buddha. The tantric Shakyamuni sadhana would require an empowerment.

Best wishes!
  • As the sun goes further in its course, the shadows of the western mountains draw ever closer; so too, as life unfolds its course, is death forever drawing nearer. --A proverb quoted by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche in The Hundred Verses of Advice.
  • Amid the clouds of impermanence and illusion, the lightning of life dances: Are you sure you won't die tomorrow? Death is unavoidable, so practice the Dharma! --Shechen Gyaltsap

zerwe
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Re: Chenresig - Ontological Dilemmas

Post by zerwe » Thu May 23, 2013 3:34 pm

Konchog1 wrote:
zerwe wrote:This is an area where I don't have enough knowledge, but I have heard the explanation that the deities and Shakyamuni are of all of one "taste."
I have heard two primary explanations of how this relationship. A sort of
"All is the one, one is the all" description, if you will. So, some seem to assert that the deities are
extensions of Shakyamuni and others that the deities are like cells of Shakyamuni. This may not
be accurate, but I like to imagine that conceptually this is far beyond our current comprehension and
that the compassionate activity of all the Buddhas or one Buddha is so vast that it can manifest in many forms
and Chenresig is just one embodiment of this aspect of enlightened activity?
Shaun :namaste:
My understanding is that the Buddhas are both one and many at the same time. They are all of the same essence but manifest in infinite forms.

There is no difference between Shakyamuni and Avalokiteshvara except in practice.
Yes, this is what I am trying to get across. Well stated.
Shaun :namaste:

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Nilasarasvati
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Location: Trāyastriṃśa. Just kidding. What a cool sanksrit word, huh?

Re: Chenresig - Ontological Dilemmas

Post by Nilasarasvati » Thu May 23, 2013 5:53 pm

Yeah I do a short shakyamuni sadhana at the beginning of my ngondro every day. It's very simple and includes Tonglen :P

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smcj
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Re: Chenresig - Ontological Dilemmas

Post by smcj » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:59 am

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Thank you all. This has been an incredibly interesting and useful discussion. I am thinking of trying to use a sadhana and visualization practice based on Shakyamuni Buddha as it venerating and taking refuge in anyone else (regardless of their ontological status) fills me with a strange sense of dread. :anjali:
Just FYI, since you are doing Kagyu practice, you should know that Dorje Chang (Skt. Vajradhara) is the iconography used to represent the enlightenment of Sakyamuni as seen from the Vajrayana perspective. If you look way up at the top of the Rufuge Tree you'll see a small figure of Dorje Chang. That represents the historical Buddha, Sakyamuni. The large central figure that is supposed to be your own lama is also represented as Dorje Chang. So what you're actually taking refuge in is the transmission of Sakyamuni's enlightenment, as passed down through the lineage, and then as it is finally presented/made available to you by your own teacher.

Dorje Chang is also the representation of the Dharmakaya, said to be the formless aspect of Sakyamuni's (and all buddhas) enlightenment, and is the esoteric interpretation of the Buddha Jewel. However since formlessness isn't something very accessible or workable for most people, the Buddha manifests the two form kayas.

The Sambogakaya (deity practice) is the the first form kaya, and the esoteric interpretation of the Dharma Jewel. The Dharma is how Sakyamuni communicated his ideas. The Sambogakaya deities are how he communicates (deliberately using the present tense) his awareness. So at this level of understanding you are still taking Refuge in Sakyamuni's enlightenment. The deities are just different expressions of his enlightenment made accessible to you out of compassion.

The lama is the esoteric interpretation of the Sangha Jewel, the physical representation of the Buddha, as is the one that makes the path accessible to you.
I know Lama Norlha. He's a good lama.
In the Tantra of the Beautiful Auspiciousness (bKra shis mdzes ldan gyi rgyud), this "Great Primordial Purity" (spyi gzhi) is defined as follows:

What is known as "The Great Primordial Purity”
Is the state abiding before authentic Buddhas arose
And before impure sentient beings appeared;
It is called the great Primordial radiance of immutable awareness.

*****
Sometimes you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places
If you look at it right.
-Robert Hunter-

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