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Switch to Forum Live View Advanced lesson in suffering
7 years ago  ::  May 30, 2011 - 3:22PM #1
Posts: 487
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7 years ago  ::  Jul 08, 2011 - 6:53PM #2
Posts: 595

As a member of a modern day global Buddhist movement whose principles are based upon the wisdom of the Mahayana / Lotus Sutra and the reformist teachings of Nichiren, an activist sage monk of the 13th century Japan, I find this article above most fascinating.  The SGI movement is now a thoroughly lay-mens Buddhist movement grounded in the wisdom of the Lotus Sutra which teaches that all beings whether monk, nun, laymen or laywoman equally share the capacity to attain Buddhahood in the present lifetime through the observation of the wisdom of the Lotus Sutra ie. "Devotion to the Lotus Blossom of the Wonderus Dharma" better known as Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. The SGI has severed relations with the socially  entrenched Japanese Buddhist clergy over 20 years ago.

In reading this article I am struck by the vast gulf that exists between the manifested social and philosophical confusion exibited by the conflict ridden activities of the Thailand Buddhist society versus the far more advanced modern insitutional framework by which the SGI Lotus / Mahayana based  social and philosophical movement addresses social and political progress in Japan. There is no basis in the non-dualistic principles of the Mahayana that are in conflict with the call for social activism and social change. This is because the Lotus Sutra makes clear that "this Saha world is itself the Buddha's land in the same manner that Nagarjuna taught that there is no duality between nirvana and samsara. This also is in keeping with the understanding made clear in the LotusSutra that the only actual path to Buddhahood lay in the Bodhisattva practice and the affairs of this world alone.

Overall this is a profound topic which can prvide a framework for shedding light on the distinctions between traditional Theravada Buddhist philosophy and the Mahayana teachings made famous by the likes of Ashvagosha, Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Asanga, Vasubandu, Chadrakirti, Bhavaviveka, Buddhapalita, and numerous other Mahayana sages of India, China, Japan and Tibet.





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7 years ago  ::  Jul 11, 2011 - 12:59PM #3
Posts: 595

Jul 9, 2011 -- 3:48PM, Bhakta_glenn wrote:

Theravada Buddhism

Perhaps it may be pertinent to chant the Metta Sutta for those who are reported to be suffering in Thailand:

The Monks Community

The Bhikkhu community at Amaravati began from those that came from Cittaviveka Monastery in 1984. Many had spent some time training in Thailand at Wat Nong Pah Pong.

Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Buddha's Words on Loving-Kindness
translated from the Pali by
The Amaravati Sangha
© 2004–2011
Alternate translations: Ñanamoli | Buddharakkhita | Piyadassi | Thanissaro
This sutta also appears at Khp 9.

This is what should be done By one who is skilled in goodness,

And who knows the path of peace: Let them be able and upright,

Straightforward and gentle in speech, Humble and not conceited,

Contented and easily satisfied,

Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.

Peaceful and calm and wise and skillful, Not proud or demanding in nature.

Let them not do the slightest thing That the wise would later reprove.

Wishing: In gladness and in safety, May all beings be at ease.

Whatever living beings there may be;

Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,

The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,

The seen and the unseen, Those living near and far away,

Those born and to-be-born — May all beings be at ease!

Let none deceive another, Or despise any being in any state.

Let none through anger or ill-will Wish harm upon another.

Even as a mother protects with her life Her child, her only child,

So with a boundless heart Should one cherish all living beings;

Radiating kindness over the entire world: Spreading upwards to the skies,

And downwards to the depths; Outwards and unbounded,

Freed from hatred and ill-will. Whether standing or walking,

seated or lying down Free from drowsiness, One should sustain this recollection.

This is said to be the sublime abiding. By not holding to fixed views,

The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,

Being freed from all sense desires, Is not born again into this world.

Since som many millions of people already chant the Metta Sutta in Thailand would this be the antidote to their troubles?


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7 years ago  ::  Jul 13, 2011 - 11:12PM #4
Posts: 487
Perhaps it is a karmic path to suffer. I spent time in Thailand and for
most, Buddhism was an oral tradition, mixed with folk superstitions and ancestor
reverence. For many Buddha was the guy you prayed to for "stuff." Possibly there
is a Buddhist drift that is devoid of the dharma. Can we change this? Probably
not. Now is the time to move toward our own awakening. Despite all the
Bodhisattva vows taken and Metta Suttas offered awakening begins with each
sentient being in the here and now. And things in Thailand, Japan, Tibet, the
USA and all other places will be as it is.



Wishing all small tranquil days,


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7 years ago  ::  Jul 15, 2011 - 11:00AM #5
Posts: 14,245

I once was surprised to attend a dharma talk at the local Vietnamese monastery. The guest speaker was, as I recall, a retired Burmese general! I recalled the horrific news of military atrocities there--as this monk expounded picture-perfect scripture. 

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7 years ago  ::  Jul 15, 2011 - 2:44PM #6
Posts: 487
That's a good lesson on listening rather than judging. Angulimala's awakening is another good example. 

'"Suzuki Roshi, I've been listening to your lectures for years," a student said during the question and answer time following a lecture, "but I just don't understand. Could you just please put it in a nutshell? Can you reduce Buddhism to one phrase?"

Everyone laughed. Suzuki laughed.

"Everything changes," he said. then he asked for another question.

from To Shine One Corner Of The World
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7 years ago  ::  Jul 18, 2011 - 3:10PM #7
Posts: 595

In my understanding of the matter there are actual philosophical issues of reason and wisdom which brought forth distinctions and divisions within the inner world of Buddhism.  Here the term "inner world" is not simply one distinguishing in group from out group although this is the first layer of distinction that does result nonetheless. More importantly, since the purpose of Buddhism is to eliminate the most fundamental causes of suffering in the lives of human beings and beyond there arouse much disatisfaction with the forms and meanings that were put into an oral and written order of words, phrases and their meanings and with the way these shaped the methods and goals of Buddhist philosophy and practice. As we survey the Buddhist history unfolding both in a north eastern and south eastern directions across the Asian continent and beyond there is a vast distinction in both philosophical and practical terms by which Buddhist philosophy has developed.  

The south eastern flow of Buddhism through Sri-Lanka, then eastward towards Thailand and Southeast Asia  grounded itself in the order of the first oral and written discourses but not without an awareness and forms of debates that were evident since the earliest days of the doctrinal debates (among the first eighteen sects evident in Maghada proper in the first 50 years after the Buddha's passing) as well as events from later Indian history which point to the principles formalized in Mahayana Buddhism . Therefore in spite of the well known authoritarian stance of the Theravada seniors in faith one can find beliefs and principles of a yogic mindset that are consistent with the developments in what is called the north eastern Mahayana and even dharani / mantrayana / vajrayana Buddhist philosophies. Therefore when we survey the fundamental principles and reasons for them which were put forth by great Indian Mahayana Buddhist leaders like Ashvagosha, Nagarajuna, Aryadeva, Maitreya, Asanga,  and Vasubandhu we find that there is great validity for these principles; reasons which play them selves out in the human search for justice, freedom and equality anywhere in the world across time were there is human social evolution manifesting itself.

The important point to bear in all of this is that the issues that play themselves out on the social stage of reality in the human world are first forseen within the mind of the yogic practitioner as the structure of the cognitive faculty is mapped out within Buddhist philosophy.  Through becoming aware of these inner principles of Life and Reality the pursuit of a more just world order is engaged by the socially active Buddhist community. Such a pursuit has been far advanced within the north eastern flow of Buddhism yet notwithstanding, even such sutras like the "Descent into Lanka" Sutra or Lankavatarra map out the path from a dualistic and contentious manifestated reality to one where such a reality is potentially subdued by the wisdom, actions and goals of a non-dual wisdom and reasoning within the mundane or "saha" world.

In the most practical terms this means that from the standpoint of the deepest understanding of the Buddha there is no actual distinction between the secular and religious world and between politics and religion proper.  That such distinctions are actually a superficial accomocation in a world where spiritual principles of wisdom have been compromised or watered down or dualisized to appease the leading families of a social order who have gained political power and control. In this respect as we follow the true leaders of engaged Buddhist history these inevitably lead to the principle developments, practices and beliefs embedded in Mahayana Buddhist philosophy.     

In light of the above truths, as we turn our attention to the modern age and the contemporaneous western flow of Buddhism the state of the aggregating center, where the strength of authority and "group" think naturally grounds itself, one finds that there remains a variety of disparate views, beliefs and assertions as to the most fundamental principles of the Buddha's philosophy. The reason for this points to the fact that the fundamentals of Buddhism remain in a state of disparity even in the host Asias countries from which western Buddhist leaders first learned them.  This is why I believe that before the people of the western world start espousing Buddhist beliefs and practices they should first learn the history and the fundamental issues that have been debated for a hundred generations of senior leaders in the Asian Buddhist community. 

It is for this reason why we find such a feable degree of insight and understanding among western Buddhists, a form of insight that does not progress beyond basic simple self satisfaction sprinkled with high minded proverbs and platitudes that offer little meaningful power of change in the social psychological landscape of human world.  

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7 years ago  ::  Jul 18, 2011 - 3:28PM #8
Posts: 595

To take the issue to the next level, most people in the west are unaware of how the Mahayana philosophy, the more socially engaged form of Buddhism has progressed in practical terms to address its professed goals, the goals of the Bodhisattva to "save all living beings", "to overcome all impediments to enlightenment", " to master all doctrines" and "to attain Buddhahood in the here and now".

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