TranquilTurmoil

Contextualizing, Analyzing, and understanding the Mahayana

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Posted (edited)

What do you know: another TT metaphysics thread!? I was wondering what perspectives on the three main divisions in Buddhism you all may have, insights to share etc.

 

 Some lingering questions for me: Was the Buddha the first and foremost arhat or a secret bodhisattva? If it was the former that’s true was Shakyamuni a Buddha the way Mahayanists/Vajrarayanists think of the word?

 

in that light, is the Mahayana and it’s sutras/theory/practices revisionist? A natural progressive evolution? True dharma consistent with the dhamma?

 

I find Vajra fascinating and frightening and thus haven’t immersed myself in studying IT but do like to read the insights and teachings of Vajra Lamas from time to time. Is vajrayana an expedient practice to full Mahayana realization or does it actually go beyond it?

 

Chogyam Trungpa in his wonderful Profound treasury of the Ocean of Dharma: treatise on the Mahayana way of Wisdom and Compassion (that may not be the exact title I don’t remember) seems to describe the Mahayana beginning after shravakayana maturity (relatively mastering the path of individual liberation) and the Vajrayana path beginning when one is firmly and hopefully irreversibly committed to the bodhisattva path. I wonder if this is an accurate description or a Pro Vajrayana view? What would lead one other than the encouragement of a root teacher or guru to know it was skillful to seek the dangerous, exalted , and exotic path of Tantra (and/or associated practices)?

 

🤔💭🧐😇

Edited by TranquilTurmoil

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Mahayana is often intellectualized and turned into cute philosophical discussions for the sake of introducing the topic. This does great injustice to the actual practice, which is all about discovering the natural awareness of the compassionate heart.

 

The key to all Mahayana practice is developing Bodhichitta which is the unconditional desire to help and benefit others through the lenses of wisdom. Real unconditional love comes about when our lives turn inside out from the usual ego-centrism to an unshackled expression of wanting everyone to be happy instead of seeking personal fulfillment and stimulation head on.

 

The ordinary pain and pleasure originate from clinging to the fragile and limited self-view which can't transcend the ravages of time and eventual death because it associates with the physical body. Hence it's sometimes said in the Mahayana view that pain and pleasure are the same: It's the result of the false self that the sentient beings in samsara cultivate, and realizing Enlightenment is about familiarizing genuine and lasting happiness through Bodhichitta.

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Virtue,

 

I didn’t mean to have an ego-stroking, overly intellectual topic… I’m trying to get to the heart of the unity of BuddhaDharma /BuddhaTao by having a decent map and framework in understanding it. I can’t emphasize enough the integral necessity of cultivating bodhi heart/mind over intellectual understanding. I’m just trying to pursue the Eightfold path from many angles. I have been at a discussion/dialectic deficit for nearly a decade as I had the burden of not having access to a sangha.

 

I appreciate your thoughtfulness and sincerity.

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@TranquilTurmoil Mahayana is a truly wide subject to study. Bodhichitta is a core tenet which should have come up already, and I'm quite certain that without Bodhichitta constantly used as a reference point this type of analysis will not lead to satisfying conclusions. Many of your questions could already be answered from the Bodhichitta perspective decisively, such as individual vs. universal liberation you referred to in different terms.

 

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, virtue said:

@TranquilTurmoil Mahayana is a truly wide subject to study. Bodhichitta is a core tenet which should have come up already, and I'm quite certain that without Bodhichitta constantly used as a reference point this type of analysis will not lead to satisfying conclusions. Many of your questions could already be answered from the Bodhichitta perspective decisively, such as individual vs. universal liberation you referred to in different terms.

 

Hmm.

Im quite sure that residing/dwelling in bodhicitta is a superb path exclusively. However, as my energetic tendencies are currently construed I sometimes rest in heart/mind and other times investigate phenomena/truth/teachings in the a curious and hopefully innocent intention and fashion. If i tried to forcibly/over exert my mind towards dwelling in the heart i suspect it would arouse unbalanced agitation in me.

I personally have no interest in pursuing the path of individual liberation, but i wouldnt want to exclude or condemn them either from following their truth and making a dent in samsara as they believe to be right/appropriate. Or learning from their wisdom even if it seems incomplete to me

Maybe we are missing each other here or I'm misunderstanding your point? Regardless i think i might need to take your implied advice to heart and do my best to turn my mind towards tranquility now rather than analysis. My tendency is to be quite fixated on one subject/area of concentration at a time as I have OCD. Feel free to clarify what you meant, and I'll try to find the right balance.

 

-Elliot

Edited by TranquilTurmoil
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Posted (edited)

I meant Bodhichitta from the usual doctrinal and application perspective, which means having awareness and aspiration to help all sentient beings.

 

29 minutes ago, TranquilTurmoil said:

Im quite sure that residing/dwelling in bodhicitta is a superb path exclusively. However, as my energetic tendencies are currently construed I sometimes rest in heart/mind and other times investigate phenomena/truth/teachings in the a curious and hopefully innocent intention and fashion. If i tried to forcibly/over exert my mind towards dwelling in the heart i suspect it would around unbalanced agitation in me.

 

Hmm. This... is not Bodhichitta. Or at least it seems that there is something very peculiar or uncommon in how you apply it.

 

There is the concept of four immeasurables (loving-kindness, compassion, empathic joy, and tranquility) that are taken as meditation objects. These, like Bodhichitta, have no meditative reference point of dwelling in the "heart" in any general sense.

 

As for forcibly dwelling on anything or exertion while meditating: always a bad idea. I suspect that there is something fundamentally wrong in how you have approach meditation in the past, but maybe today also. Maybe you could benefit to have a long discussion with some friendly senior practitioner or meditation teacher in order to clear up whatever misconceptions you might have about the basic practice.

 

Quote

Maybe we are missing each other here or I'm misunderstanding your point? Regardless i think i might need to take your implied advice to heart and do my best to turn my mind towards tranquility now rather than analysis. My tendency is to be quite fixated on one subject/area of concentration at a time as I have OCD. Feel free to clarify what you meant, and I'll try to find the right balance.

 

I can only give a general advice: relax, find inner peace through simplicity, and try to appreciate that you don't have to know. The process of Enlightenment is about shedding illusions in the end.

Edited by virtue

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, virtue said:

I meant Bodhichitta from the usual doctrinal and application perspective, which means having awareness and aspiration to help all sentient beings.

 

 

Hmm. This... is not Bodhichitta. Or at least it seems that there is something very peculiar or uncommon in how you apply it.

 

There is the concept of four immeasurables (loving-kindness, compassion, empathic joy, and tranquility) that are taken as meditation objects. These, like Bodhichitta, have no meditative reference point of dwelling in the "heart" in any general sense.

 

As for forcibly dwelling on anything or exertion while meditating: always a bad idea. I suspect that there is something fundamentally wrong in how you have approach meditation in the past, but maybe today also. Maybe you could benefit to have a long discussion with some friendly senior practitioner or meditation teacher in order to clear up whatever misconceptions you might have about the basic practice.

 

 

I can only give a general advice: relax, find inner peace through simplicity, and try to appreciate that you don't have to know. The process of Enlightenment is about shedding illusions in the end.

I’m tempted to go back and forth here and intuitively worry I’m getting insecure and frustrated/defending my sense of self.

however I’m a bit confused by your perceptions. Thich Nhat Hanh, my first Buddhist teacher, defined bodhicitta as the mind of love. I suppose absolute bodhicitta is an unconditional love/longing to nourish and benefit all beings. However relative bodhicitta as I understand it is about willing yourself through compassionate intent towards loving thought, speech, and conduct, whether it comes totally natural or not. (I learned about the distinction btwn the two In Chogyam Trungpa’s aforementioned treatise on the Mahayana.) I’m not sure how that’s not orienting oneself constantly and gently towards the heart/mind?

 

im always open to correcting myself, but feeling misunderstood is an emotional trigger for me, and due to the extreme uniqueness and unorthodox nature of my path total acceptance and understanding is hard to come by, even from very advanced practicioners.

🤷🏼‍♂️ 🙏🏼

Edited by TranquilTurmoil
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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, TranquilTurmoil said:

I’m tempted to go back and forth here and intuitively worry I’m getting insecure and frustrated/defending my sense of self.

however I’m a bit confused by your perceptions. Thich Nhat Hanh, my first Buddhist teacher, defined bodhicitta as the mind of love. I suppose absolute bodhicitta is an unconditional love/longing to nourish and benefit all beings. However relative bodhicitta as I understand it is about willing yourself through compassionate intent to towards loving thought, speech, and conduct, whether it comes totally natural or not. (I learned about the distinction btwn the two In Chogyam Trungpa’s aforementioned treatise on the Mahayana.) I’m not sure how that’s not orienting oneself constantly and gently towards the heart/mind?

 

There are subtleties in the matter, and I'm not a learned Dharma proponent.

 

Bodhichitta is intrinsic to the Buddhanature itself: it never decreases or increases, but our familiarity with it may become clouded. Bodhichitta's relative expressions may indeed take some mind particular mental states, but these are mindfulness and calming meditation practices then.

 

Constant meditation, even if gentle, supposes a stable enough mind that can endure the process without aggravating any issues, whether emotional or energetic. If this is indeed a problem you are having, then you need to seek help how to get healthier and more stable first. — I'm saying this with all empathy and respect because I started with similar sounding issues myself. It's very important to have the basic understanding correct and ground yourself emotionally.

 

Quote

im always open to correcting myself, but feeling misunderstood is an emotional trigger for me, and due to the extreme uniqueness and unorthodox nature of my path total acceptance and understanding is hard to come by, even from very advanced practicioners.

🤷🏼‍♂️ 🙏🏼

 

I don't know about advanced practice, but I understand that you want to have things in your own way.

 

Room for learning starts with the admission that we really don't know much and are prone to err, doesn't it? That's at least what I have had to admit perpetually.

 

I'll now bow out of the discussion because I don't really have clear idea how I could be of further benefit to you. I'm still a student myself, so I remain cautious about the possibility of slipping ignorant advice.

Edited by virtue
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A perspective on spontaneously arising Bodhicitta…

 

 

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