TranquilTurmoil

The Bhumis and the higher bhumis

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So I’m not going to give this thread a ton of background or introduction… I’m seeking to clarify certain things about the higher bhumis… i read the lankavatara sutra about 6-10 months ago and it was my first introduction to the “Cloud Stages” (Bhumis 9+10) … in understanding this, does the bodhisattva dwell in a pure land/Buddha field while manifesting an emanation to a different/lower realm? 
 

my motivation for asking this is because as I return to well-being and move towards contentment i think it would provide me solace if there was a hope/promise/destiny of salvation for those who see the path to fruition. I have been a bit confused if samsara is endless for the bodhisattva or if there is a temporary melding of samsara and Nirvana or if there is a lasting Nirvana for the bodhisattva who then in turn “manifests” or “emanates “ to connect and help other beings. 
 

🙏🏼☁️☀️⭕️

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You may have noticed that the definition of Buddhahood in early Mahayana (a being who turns the wheel) doesn't match the definition used in the well known Mahayana practice lineages today, whether sudden awakening or Tantric.  So such a question is by nature impractical in the sense that it will be divorced from practice. 

 

For a concept which straddles both camps, you familiar with the idea of "non-abiding Nirvana"?  The people I've talked to with stable emptiness realization have a very different experience of what is suffering and what is salvation.  In Dzogchen they say "May I arise beyond hope and fear."  The Heart Sutra is also relevant here.  Buddha fields, emanations, and higher bhumis come long after realization of emptiness, so there is a certain natural order of priority in what to seek to understand and realize. 

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17 minutes ago, Creation said:

You may have noticed that the definition of Buddhahood in early Mahayana (a being who turns the wheel) doesn't match the definition used in the well known Mahayana practice lineages today, whether sudden awakening or Tantric.  So such a question is by nature impractical in the sense that it will be divorced from practice. 

 

For a concept which straddles both camps, you familiar with the idea of "non-abiding Nirvana"?  The people I've talked to with stable emptiness realization have a very different experience of what is suffering and what is salvation.  In Dzogchen they say "May I arise beyond hope and fear."  The Heart Sutra is also relevant here.  Buddha fields, emanations, and higher bhumis come long after realization of emptiness, so there is a certain natural order of priority in what to seek to understand and realize. 

Hey. To clarify, I don’t want to set a lofty goal of parinirvana and set out to work towards it as much as this thread and a lot of my threads try to make sense of If there is a definitive and semi-final light at the end of the tunnel… or am I/we potentially bound to cycles of suffering and temporary salvation? I’m not fixated on it at the moment I just think it would be a boon to hear that there is a liberation available to folks like me and you (even if it is 40 years or 2 lifetimes down the road). Cause if the bodhisattva path is just endless service (and I know you think the vow is much more important when the goal is within reach) it seems much more daunting.

 

i find the purpose of the vow/aspiration/commitment at my stage of the path serving the function of surrendering boundaries/control/self-interest. I’m trying to simultaneously lead myself to the conclusion that there is nothing to hold on to and that after the long journey there is a transcendent refuge (that doesn’t leave behind the world entirely).

 

I have interpreted non-abiding Nirvana and the heart sutra as states that a bodhisattva experiences living on earth… which upon reconsideration doesn’t seem like it hits the mark.

 

 

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25 minutes ago, TranquilTurmoil said:

I’m not fixated on it at the moment I just think it would be a boon to hear that there is a liberation available to folks like me and you (even if it is 40 years or 2 lifetimes down the road).

That's why I brought up the differing definitions of Buddhahood.  When Vajrayana says you can attain Buddhahood in this lifetime, they don't mean you will turn the wheel in a different world system in your next life!  Differentiating those two really clarified things for me.  Stable realization of emptiness is available, you know I believe to know people personally at that stage.  Letting go of self in service to others is part of that path, and traditionally that is phrased that in terms of the Vow. 

 

27 minutes ago, TranquilTurmoil said:

Cause if the bodhisattva path is just endless service (and I know you think the vow is much more important when the goal is within reach) it seems much more daunting.

That's not quite an accurate representation of my thoughts on the matter.  The Vow serves a purpose (see above), it just seems somewhat figurative to me, which is to say, I wonder how many who took a ceremonial Bodhisattva vow actually end up stick it out for however many kalpas it takes to become a Wheel Turning Buddha.  I have a personal preference for literal expressions of intention rather than figurative ones.  

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40 minutes ago, TranquilTurmoil said:

I’m trying to simultaneously lead myself to the conclusion that there is nothing to hold on to and that after the long journey there is a transcendent refuge (that doesn’t leave behind the world entirely).

Surely you realize how contradictory this sounds. 

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12 minutes ago, Creation said:

Surely you realize how contradictory this sounds. 

Well from what I ve read, it’s only when we truly surrender any hope of gain or territory that the path opens up… and I have read both the path is something with a beginning, a middle, and an end and that the path is endless ….so I feel a nuanced perspective is one that let’s go of a hope or longing for any near-term graspable permanence… while also resting in the solace of a lasting salvation that comes of its own accord at some future time. 
 

I recognize the possibility for a stable realization of emptiness in this life… but as I have suffered tremendous pains to get to not even that realization, the prospect of doing this more than a handful of times without long-term relief seems like quite the mountain to repeatedly climb. That’s why I’m curious about the cloud stages because while the bhumis 8 and 9 are not considered buddhahood in Mahayana or Vajrayana they are considered to be irreversible liberation (8th) and I don’t know what I remember about the 9th except that there where emanations come in to play.

 

as far as the bodhisattva vow, I don’t think I ve ever really taken the traditional 4 great vows except as a communal chant/recitation. However I have sincerely vowed to see the path to fruition (whatever that may be) and relatedly to not “cash out” but to serve where I’m needed as long as is necessary and beneficial and required of me. Hope that makes more sense 🙏🏼

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My favorite (deceased) Chan teacher, Sheng-Yen… in his books he talks about resolving to put an end to birth and death while emphasizing the importance and sincerity of the bodhisattva vows. That’s why I think it’s helpful to have the promise of oasis while abandoning the active pursuit of oasis … 

 

The advice people tend to give me is to take it one step at a time and to embody wisdom in the here and now. That is certainly good advice but it feels like supplementing it with a promise not of a reward but of a lasting fruit of practice would help both bring me solace and inspire me to drop my worries.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/30/2021 at 9:48 AM, TranquilTurmoil said:

So I’m not going to give this thread a ton of background or introduction… I’m seeking to clarify certain things about the higher bhumis… i read the lankavatara sutra about 6-10 months ago and it was my first introduction to the “Cloud Stages” (Bhumis 9+10) … in understanding this, does the bodhisattva dwell in a pure land/Buddha field while manifesting an emanation to a different/lower realm? 
 

my motivation for asking this is because as I return to well-being and move towards contentment i think it would provide me solace if there was a hope/promise/destiny of salvation for those who see the path to fruition. I have been a bit confused if samsara is endless for the bodhisattva or if there is a temporary melding of samsara and Nirvana or if there is a lasting Nirvana for the bodhisattva who then in turn “manifests” or “emanates “ to connect and help other beings. 
 

🙏🏼☁️☀️⭕️

 

OK... so here I am again anyway...

 

It seems like you are trying to negotiate some kind of hope. You need to understand... samsara is hopeless, as Pema Chodron would say. What I mean here is that there is no hope of a "person" attaining enlightenment that will make any sense to you in any philosophical way. Hope is a belief in a future event. The only real moment is now.

 

The way to position yourself is to seek to enlighten yourself in THIS moment. This is NOT meant abstractly. It is entirely possible. There is no need to wait lifetimes, or suffer further.  Pure Lands are an unnecessary contrivance. Know that enlightenment always happens NOW and is AVAILABLE now. There is no future moment when it happens, as strange and nonsensical as it may seem. This is not metaphorical. This is not some philosophical conundrum. Drop all of that. Dedicate yourself to bringing yourself back, again and again, to this moment experienced in emptiness and awareness. Let go of false ideas, hopes, beliefs and goals - they are just more suffering and only embed you further in the quicksand of samsara. 

 

Nirvana is a perspective shift. You suddenly see things as they always have been. It was never a mystery. You have always been home. NO person is ever enlightened. Nirvana is the end of the myth - the self story you have always told yourself. Once seen and understood it cannot be unseen. 

 

Helping other beings occurs naturally by being in alignment with the unity of what this always has been.

 

The Bhumis are (mostly) successive clarification of the initial awakening, and are generally not discussed for a good reason... they cause confusion.

 

Less reading and more practicing. :)

 

P.S. If you MUST read, try Ken McLeod's "Wake Up To Your Life" (also available as an audiobook).

Edited by stirling
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