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Switch to Forum Live View Introduction on the Painting of Scenes of the Hells
5 years ago  ::  Dec 25, 2009 - 3:45AM #1
Karma_yeshe_dorje
Posts: 12,684
Some time ago, I was in a vegetarian Chinese restaurant run by a Taoist family. On a side table were many works of a religious nature. Only one included in its cover a language that I could read! So I picked up this DVD, attributed to Pure Land Learning College Assoc. Inc.

At last in the `silly season', with not much going on, I brought a friend round and we watched it. Unfortunately we both disliked this work intensely!

My friend, an atheist, reckoned that everyone does some of those sins. And he thought the punishments depicted were grossly excessive for the crimes. In particular, he said that this was not at all his conception of a middle path of compassionate Buddhism!

I understand that prosocial behaviours might be encouraged. And I have long ago visited a display of such hells in Singapore. Also I have come across the Wheel of Life image.

Yet my friend and I considered the violence of the imagery to itself constitute depravity! I thought this work was culturally inappropriate for Australia. Yes of course we have social problems. But I recall from a public safety campaign that consumers of propaganda reacted badly to negative, violent imagery!

This artwork reminded me of historical excesses such as the Spanish Inquisition and witch-burning. And my friend said it was hypocritical to try to stamp out torture by torturing torturers!
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 25, 2009 - 6:56PM #2
etoro
Posts: 568

In the world of man there are numerous parochial and provisional philosophies. These philosophies are generally one sided views, dualistic in that they depict the extremes of a onesided spiritualism or a onesided materialsm.  Chinese Buddhism never did evolve in the popular realm beyond a belief in various deities whether a Buddha like Amida or a Bodhisattva like Tara better known as Avalokiteshvara. There is also the great Chan (Zen) tradition which developed in China as well. BUt Zen tachings never teach anything beyond what is already recorded in the great sutras. The more sophisticated teachings and insights of the highest sutras like the Flower Garland Sutra,  Nirvana Sutra, Lotus Sutra, Prajna Paramita and Lankavatara Sutras where always inundated with contraversy and politics at the Capital. Such is the nature of great teachings of human insight and wisdom which lead to spiritual freedom and revolutionary action.  However Chinese Buddhism is also credited for having developed the teachings and practices of Mahayana Buddhism such as the works of Great Master Tien Tai, a sixth century master of Buddhism which organized all the Buddha's teachings into a work known as the Five Periods and Eight teachings, (four teachings of doctrine and four teachihgs of method).  Such works bore their greatest influence in the history of Japanese and Korean Buddhism. Lesser understood is how Tein Tai' accomplishments in clarifying Mahayana Buddhism actually influenced later Indian Buddhism, the path of Bodhisattva practice and the teachings of Indian Buddhism which then were later transmitted to Tibet.  


Peace   

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 26, 2009 - 12:50AM #3
Karma_yeshe_dorje
Posts: 12,684

Thanks etoro:


I recall the view of fanatical religion, that those religiosos who strove to make heaven--instead produced hell!


I now better appreciate news of outrage at harsh punishment in China of those officially disliked. And I recall a Chinese TV channel historical drama depicting barbaric execution. Such mistreatment of a human being, seems taken straight from a textbook of such doctrine!


 


 

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 26, 2009 - 2:22AM #4
Karma_yeshe_dorje
Posts: 12,684
Respected etoro:

I read up on Chinese Buddhism. And I learned a smattering of political and cultural influences thereupon. I gather that Buddhism there had an anarchic connotation compared with the more tribal Confucianism. Yet also that there had been some conflation of terms between Taoism and Buddhism.
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2009 - 2:25PM #5
etoro
Posts: 568

In any society past and present there are always some who are more discerning then others. I have every confidence based on much written evidence that there were people in every culture in which Buddhism entered who were able to strip away the "chaf from the wheat" as it were. Tien Tai was most definitely one of them. 

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2009 - 11:32PM #6
Karma_yeshe_dorje
Posts: 12,684
Hello again etoro:

"Tien Tai"
I looked up `Lotus Sutra'.
«A major text, of which the Tendai (T'ien T'ai) use as a main scripture. It teaches the identification of the historical Buddha, with the Transcendental Buddha.»
www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/s_m...
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 31, 2009 - 12:17AM #7
etoro
Posts: 568

Dec 28, 2009 -- 11:32PM, Karma_yeshe_dorje wrote:

Hello again etoro:  "Tien Tai" I looked up `Lotus Sutra'. «A major text, of which the Tendai (T'ien T'ai) use as a main scripture. It teaches the identification of the historical Buddha, with the Transcendental Buddha.» www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/s_m...



Yes that is correct. The term "transcendental Buddha"  is somewhat misleading however.  The real point that is being made is that the Buddha's goal when alive was to transmit a form of correct wisdom that would carry far beyond his own death. The point being that if the Buddha was successful in correctly transmitting his wisdom to others their should be ample proof of this in the way the remaining community thinks and performs.  Their should also be a great effect in the world stemming from their actions. 


However in the period after the Buddha's passing the Buddha's disciples encountered much difficulty and hostility.  It was also difficult maintaining unity of doctrine and purpose. ONly the Buddha's wisdom could solve these conflicts.  It was through these challenges that the Buddhist community came to increase their attention and expression of the source of Buddha nature; to clarify and cultivate a knowledge of the original universal source of Buddha wisdom.   This is why the Lotus Sutra came to be in written form. The Lotus Sutra is the basis and essence of the "Mahayana" or universal vehicle wisdom. The Lotus Sutra embodies the universal law of life and the original primordial source of Buddha wisdom. The name given to this law is Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.


Some use the term deathlessness to explain the ultimate point.  The issue was that a true awakening to the ultimate wisdom of the Buddha among two or more, more than one person should bring about a state of mutual knowledge and wisdom and unity of purpose. They should be able to form their ranks among them without ego and work together to bring about a broad understanding of the Buddha's values and principles; to fullfill the Buddha's original purpose.


 

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 31, 2009 - 7:02AM #8
Karma_yeshe_dorje
Posts: 12,684

G'day etoro: Smile


Altar


Mahayana
«Three sources appear to have made significant contributions to the rise of Mahayana Buddhism:


  1. The Early Buddhist Schools. Some important Mahayana texts such as the Prajnaparamita often refer to doctrines associated with the Sarvastivada, which were mentioned or incorporated into Mahayana texts. In terms of content, however, theMahasanghika doctrine is closer to Mahayana thought, particularly those of the sub-schools such as the Lokottaravadins.
  2. Biographical literature of the Buddha composed by people said to have belonged to 'the vehicle that praised the Buddha'. This literature (comprising the JatakasAvadanas and other texts describing the life of Buddha) may have had its origins in the various Early Schools, but developed in ways that transcended the existing sectarian lines and contributed to the rise of Mahayana Buddhism. Buddhist poets wrote their work with purposes different from those of scholars who were concerned with doctrinal issues, and they used literary expressions which transcended doctrinal lines between the schools.
  3. Stupa worship. Stupas — which were initially mere monuments to Gautama Buddha — increasingly became the place of devotion and of spreading Buddhism to the masses, the majority of whom were illiterate laymen. On the inside wall of the stupa, pictures were drawn or sculpted depicting the life of Buddha and his previous lives as a bodhisattva. This has given rise to devotion to the Buddha and the bodhisattvas»
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahayana#History&n...


Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
«Homage to the Lotus Sutra»
www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/b3s...


deathlessness
«The Buddha explains nirvana as "the unconditioned" (asankhata) mind, a mind that has come to a point of perfect lucidity and clarity due to the cessation of the production of volitional formations. This is described by the Buddha as "deathlessness" (Paliamata or amaravati
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana#Nirvana_in...

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 04, 2010 - 11:44AM #9
etoro
Posts: 568

yes thank you Yeshe for offering to provide various definitions from the internet. Of course those definitions are extremely superficial.  They do not express the actuall inner experience and wisdom of the Bodhisattva, nor do they explain the organic relationship between the Buddha, the Dharma and the Community of disciples.  It just happens to be the case that people who have not evolved from their attachment to the concept of a deity as a place holder for the obvious presence of the values of boundlessness, infinity, eternity and unconditionality,have difficulty understanding the Buddhist perspective.  They can not see their own lives as the "three bodies of the true Buddha".  Faith and practice are irreplaceable in this regard. 


Hands palm to palm.


 

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 06, 2010 - 5:58AM #10
Karma_yeshe_dorje
Posts: 12,684

Blessings, etoro:


inner experience
«There are outer methods, inner methods and secret methods.» www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/sakya_bios.pd...


wisdom
«Wisdom is described as the understanding of the Four Noble Truths, or the understanding of dependent origination»
www.buddhanet.net/fundbud8.htm


Bodhisattva
«It is the name given to anyone who, motivated by great compassion, has generated bodhicitta, which is a spontaneous wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all living beings.» en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhisattva "Buddha, the Dharma and the Community" «The Buddha, Dharma and Sangha are called the Triple Gem because they represent qualities which are excellent and precious like a gem. Once a person recognises these unique qualities after careful consideration and is confident that the Triple Gem can help lead him towards happiness and Enlightenment, he takes refuge.» www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhism/bs...


boundlessness, infinity, eternity and unconditionality
«

Main Entry: infinite
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: limitless, without end

Synonyms:


absolute, all-embracing, bottomless, boundless,enduringenormouseternaleverlasting, illimitable, immeasurableimmense, incalculable, incessant, inestimable, inexhaustible, interminable, measureless, million, never-ending, no end of, no end to, numberless, perdurable, perpetual, sempiternal, stupendous, supertemporal,supremetotal, unbounded, uncounted,unending, untold, vastwide, without limit, without number

Antonyms:


bounded, calculable, confined, countable,definiteephemeralfinitefleetinglimited, measurable
Main Entry: absolute
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: without limit

Synonyms:


completeconsummate, downright, entire, flat out, freefullinfinite, no catch, no fine print, no holds barred, no ifs ands or buts, no joke, no strings attached, outright, plenary, pure,sheersimple, straight out, supreme, thorough, total, unabridged, unadulteratedunconditional,unlimited, unqualified, unrestricted, utter

Antonyms:


accountable, circumscribed, limited, restricted, tractable
Main Entry: boundless
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: endless, without limit

Synonyms:


great, illimitable, immeasurable, immense, incalculable, indefinite, inexhaustible, infinite,limitless, measureless, no catch, no end of, no end to, no holds barred, no strings, no strings attached, tremendous, unbounded, unconfined, unending, unlimited, untold, vast, wide open

Antonyms:


limited, restricted
Main Entry: eternal
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: without pause; endless

Synonyms:


abiding, ageless, always, amaranthine, boundless, ceaseless, constant, continual, continued, continuous, dateless, deathless, enduring, everlasting, forever, illimitable, immemorial, immortal, immutable, imperishable, incessant, indefinite,indestructible, infinite, interminable, lasting, never-ending, perdurable, perennial,permanent, perpetual, persistentrelentless, termless, timeless, unbroken, unceasing, undying, unending, unfading, uninterrupted, unremitting, without end

Antonyms:


briefchangeablechanging, ending, ephemeral, stopping, temporary, terminable,transient»

thesaurus.reference.com/browse/infinite


three bodies of the true Buddha
«In the Mahayana philosophy, the personality of the Buddha is given an elaborate treatment. According to this philosophy, the Buddhas have three bodies (trikaya), or three aspects of personality: the Dharmakaya, the Sambhoga-kaya, and the Nirmana-kaya.»
www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/whatbudbel...


Faith and practice
«The most systematic commentary regarding this practice can be found in "The Sastra of The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana". It describes four stages of practice as below:



1. Mahayanist novices, whose minds are not strong, may lack the confidence to realize Buddhahood or to avoid rebirth in lower realms. They are not yet ready for the stage of cultivating confidence by themselves. The expedient means for them to practice is thus to concentrate on contemplating and recollecting the Buddha, especially the Amitabha Buddha, and to transfer the immeasurable virtues accumulated through this practice for taking rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Confidence can then be established gradually, and can be sustained by sensing the strong vibrations rippling throughout the Universe emanating from the ardent will, power and virtues of the Buddha. (N.B. This differs from the Real-Mark (Self-Nature) Recollection of Buddha).


2. The initial stage of a Bodhisattva’s career essentially entails extensive practices aiming to cultivate confidence (i.e. the Stage of Cultivating Ten Virtues of Mind). Such practices involving the recollection of the Buddha on the Expedient Path, such as paying reverence to the Buddha; making a frank confession of one’s mistakes and asking for pardon; rejoicing in the merits of others, transference of merits etc., all become skilful means for overcoming unwholesome karma (s. karmavarana). In turn these expedient means help develop practices on the Profound Path of Buddhist Practice, such as generosity (s. dana), morality (s. sila), patience and perseverance. Confidence is further strengthened thereby.


3. For those Bodhisattvas who have firmly established their faith and confidence, making a frank confession of their mistakes and asking for pardon becomes a skilful means to achieve mind concentration (s. samadhi); while the practices of offering, paying reverence, praising and rejoicing in virtue become skilful means to develop the stock of supreme merit. These will assist one to accomplish all great vows equally and to perfectly support the growth of both wisdom and compassion. Confidence and faith can then be further developed in order to achieve the supreme enlightenment.


4. When a Bodhisattva enters the Realization of Dharma Dhatu of the Ten Bodhisattva Stages (s. dasa-bhumayah) he still practises recollection of the Buddha through actions such as making offerings to the Buddhas of the ten different directions, requesting the Buddha to revolve the Dharma wheel etc.; all with the purpose of benefitting all other sentient beings. The Manjusri Bodhisattva and Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, who have sought rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss, belong to this type of Bodhisattva. They definitely differ from those Mahayanist novices who lack the confidence to successfully realize Buddhahood, or who fear the loss of confidence during the practices.»
www.buddhanet.net/cbp2_f8.htm 

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