The Bodhi Way (三乘菩提)


#1

Buddha means the enlightened one. Around 2500 years ago, the Buddha manifested as a human being (human path) and passed down Buddhism. The Buddha wished to share us the essence of his enlightenment. Therefore, Buddhism is neither a philosophy by itself, nor an academic research system. It is a matter of actual realization. In other words, the Buddha dharmas (teachings) are the Buddha’s personal experiences that are feasible for Buddhists to carry out. This fact ensures that human beings have the most potential to get enlightened after cultivations. For this reason, Buddhist cultivation is deeply interlinked in everyone’s daily life.
There are several fundamental concepts of Buddhism, among others, the law of cause-and-effect and the unceasing transmigration. These are all based on the Buddha nature that every sentient being innately possesses, otherwise, how could the ”unceasing transmigration” practically substantiate with the fact that our physical bodies do come to an end。
In fact, the genuine Buddha dharma is generally categorized into the Liberation-Way and the Buddhahood-Way, but the former is actually included in the latter. In terms of Buddhism, “liberation” refers to the fact of breaking the bond of the law of cause-and-effect in order to have the long cycle of births and deaths come to an end.


#2

thanks for sharing that.


#3

I never thought I’d be agreeing with SFOD-D but, yeah, thanks for your unsolicited fanatical information. :pray:


#4

seriously a touch of enlightenment that may be beneficial to some does not make it fanatical, as for unsolicited. it is in the religion and spirituality section. And I was thanking the OP, not opening a discussion.


#5

It was not unsolicited; I invited Buddhist to start this thread. Nor is it fanatical; it was sensibly and informatively presented, without a hint of fanaticism. Let’s please keep the tone high.


#6

Many thanks for all the encouragement and morale support.
In fact, the questions raised at the other thread “Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism; lamas are not Buddhists” are rather logical after anyone initially read those previous posts. That is why I have accepted Fortigurn’s good advice and decided to start a new thread to give a concise introduction with regard to the very fundamental concepts of Buddhism. Through gradually building-up the basics (knowledge), many questions would be answered automatically without you even have to ask. Actually, the earlier thread (TB…) has provided answers to some questions already, only you do not perceive them. As mentioned earlier, language and words are very limited when we come to explain Buddhist true meaning, because the teachings are meant for departing from the mundane world while all beings in this desire-realm are well trained for “going-on-living” since childhood. For example, once we see an object, most people would instantly jump to their routine reactions without even truly comprehend what it actually stands for (these parts involve the law of cause-and-effect which were extensively elaborated on teachings of the third round of dharma transmission by the Buddha). It is only natural that most people might misinterpret the true meanings of Buddhism. It would be much efficient if we piece all info together and observe the whole chart of the Treasure Island first, instead of straying from the point constantly. Buddhism teachings cannot stay away from the worldly logic, if the essence of Buddhism is pure “emptiness,” what do we need the Buddha to tell us about? We shall all face death sooner or later or even utter emptiness, then we will be exactly the same as doggies and cats; they do not have to learn “emptiness” and why should we bother to study the nothingness? Moreover, the law of cause-and-effect and the unceasing transmigration would be accordingly invalid and meaningless since all would turn into emptiness. Excuses me, I have to run to the class now. -to be continued-


#7

“I see sentient beings transmigrate into unceasing births-and-deaths, while everyone possesses their own wondrous Tathagatagarbh within exactly the same as that of mine, the ultimately pure nature,” the Buddha stated in the “Tathagatagarbh-Sutra.”
Tathagatagarbh refers to the Buddha nature (also know as the eighth vijnana, the Alaya vijnana); It is the aim for enlightenment.
The Buddhism religion is to teach the cultivation methods of attaining Buddhahood, yet seeing the actual difficulties for humankind in this desire-realm to practice the Buddhahood-Way, so the Buddha had arranged for the three rounds of the dharma transmission in order to gradually uplift the disciples’ level of cultivation.
During the first round of the dharma transmission - the Liberation-Way, the Buddha expounded the Four Agama Sutras.
In Buddhism, the terms “three treasures” refers to the Buddha, the Dharma (Buddhist teachings), and the Samgha (community of monks and nuns).
Samgha are those Buddhists who have taken the oaths and dedicated their entire life to carry out the Buddhist lineage; during their ordainment, they ought to take vows of the Buddhist precepts which focus on the nurturance of morality, tranquility of mindset and ridding selves of desire-driven. Holding the precepts are the most fundamental practice, after which one may engage properly in the practice of samadhi (concentration) and prajna (wisdom).
Among the many precepts, the primary ones are: No killing, no stealing, no sex, no false speech, and no alcohol.
Now we come to the big discussions regarding “sex” in Buddhist cultivation. When the term “vegetarian” is mentioned, we know it refers to a person who does not eat meat and animal products (in terms of Buddhist view); as monks and nuns in Buddhist term, they represent the monastic Samgha who are under the Buddhist oaths to carry out the Buddha lineage. Just to remind you again, the Buddha did not preach for reproduction or proliferation, He expounded exactly the opposite, to terminate the long cycle of unceasing births-and-death.
“To eat and to have sex are human natures” (食色性也) is a well known Chinese proverb, and they are basic instincts for human survival. That is also why this world is categorized as the desire-realm in Buddhism.
Dignifying sexuality practice in any form or name has nothing to do with the Buddhist cultivation whatsoever.


#8

Surely you mean it has nothing to do with YOUR PARTICULAR SECT’S cultivation of Buddhism?


#9

I’d think dignifying sexual practice and teaching your children (that Buddhism is true) would be the easiest method of Buddhist cultivation.

Anyway, there’s a lot of good that you’ve written there.

I’m 100% for “No killing, no stealing, and no false speech”, and I believe that ridding selves of desire promotes tranquility. I try to live a simple life, but I’m no monk.

Of course, eating and having sex are human nature; that doesn’t separate us from the animals.

Do you think there is good evidence for transmigration into unceasing births-and-deaths?


#10

Well, I was lost at the second sentence. What exactly does “Buddha manifested as a human being” mean?


#11

Correct me if I’m wrong, but his mother was “impregnated” from one of the Buddhist heavens, and his was a painfree birth from his mother’s side below the armpit.

I’m guessing that’s how “Buddha manifested as a human being.”

Edit to add: Or perhaps in his mother’s (Maya’s) dream, a white elephant, holding a white lotus flower in its trunk, appeared and went round her three times, entering her womb through her right side, and that’s how she became impregnated.
At birth he was able to walk and talk. He was born, took seven steps and said something like, “I am chief in the world, I am best in the world, I am first in the world. This is my last birth. There will be no further rebirth.”

Buddhism?


#12

Buddhist teachings can be applied to everyone’s daily life, provided that one should have the right dharma knowledge.[quoteWell, I was lost at the second sentence. What exactly does “Buddha manifested as a human being” mean?[/quote]

In Buddhist teachings, all existence (beings) are categorized into the three realms – the desire-realm, the form-realm, and the formless-realm.
The desire-realm, where we stay in, consists of (1) mankind, (2) animals, (3) asuras, (4) hungry spirits, (5) hell, and (6) the six heavens paths. So called because the beings in these state are dominated by desires, in general, one’s consciousness is subject to the desires for food, sex, and sleep. During our transmigrations of rebirths, we don’t always manifest as a human, we could be a heavenly being or as an animal.
That’s the meaning of “…manifested as a human being,” in the Sutras, the Buddha did tell many stories about his countless past lives as a heavenly being or an animal, and he had always seek to the cultivation of the ultimate truth.

In fact, as a human, we are considered to be the best path for Buddhist cultivation, if we could go further on this thread in the future, you will automatically find out why.
Are you exactly the same person (in every way) as five minutes ago? Before you read my reply, you didn’t know what I am going to say, right? Meanwhile you might gasp at the content, your metabolic systems function without your notice. Your thoughts keep changing every instant. This is an unceasing births-and-deaths happening within the small scope of your own perception, you are never the same one when you observe deeply and subtly. Another example, have you ever got a certain experience of déjà-vu? A certain place, a smell of fragrance, a certain coloring, a piece of music…, it brought forth an indescribable tone of something, though, not knowing what it was. This is the result of your past experiences which was brought forth by your seventh vijnana from the Buddha nature (the Alaya vijnana) without your control (the third round of the dharma transmission by the Buddha).
Even now, you have the interest and made an effort to read the thread and ask questions, this deed was also influenced by your past life experiences that you must have got involved with Buddhism before. The most obvious case of the talented Mozart, he must have been a musician in his many past lives as well. This is all because everyone’s Buddha nature (the Alaya vijnana) serves as a storage space for all our deeds, and the Alaya vijnana is eternity, it never ceases to function.


#13

Surely you mean it has nothing to do with YOUR PARTICULAR SECT’S cultivation of Buddhism?[/quote]
I ask again. Since you failed to address this.


#14

I still don’t see how you KNOW my interest in Buddhism or Mozart’s ability comes from previous lives.

Is it true that Buddha was reincarnated 500 some times, and some of those incarnations were animals? If so, how do we know this is true?


#15

[quote=“zender”]------------------------------------------------
At birth he was able to walk and talk. He was born, took seven steps and said something like, “I am chief in the world, I am best in the world, I am first in the world. This is my last birth. There will be no further rebirth.”

[/quote]
Sorry, I missed your message earlier.

Indeed, this was what I have learned as well,
…Took seven steps and raised his right arm and said something like,"I am the unique honorable self."
This is very meaningful to all Buddhists.


#16

[quote=“zender”]I still don’t see how you KNOW my interest in Buddhism or Mozart’s ability comes from previous lives.

Is it true that Buddha was reincarnated 500 some times, and some of those incarnations were animals? If so, how do we know this is true?[/quote]

The Buddhism teachings are very profound and wide, if you study deeper, you’ll be surprised with so many amazing potentialities within yourself. Don’t forget the Buddhist wisdom includes both the worldly and trans-mundane.

Buddha was reincarnated much more than 500 times, thousands and millions of times, the same as you and I, becuase we all personally possess the same eternity (the Buddha nature). His stories were depicted in the Sutras. The Buddha shall never lie, I do believe him, but I cannot prove his pass lives to you. Yet, I and my schoolmates do follow the Buddha’s teaching methods, and every stage and the state of realization truly verified as what he had told in the Sutras. Many of my schoolmates and I are able to understand the Sutras, that is why I am will to share my experience with you.


#17

Surely you mean it has nothing to do with YOUR PARTICULAR SECT’S cultivation of Buddhism?[/quote]
I ask again. Since you failed to address this.[/quote]

Sorry, I am afraid I don’t quite understand your question.
Because you wrote “YOUR PARTICULAR SECTS”, I am not sure what you meant by this remark. As I did explain in my previous posts, Buddhist cultivation indeed has nothing to do with sex, it has to do with wisdom through correct cultivation methods. Please do pardon me, English is not my mother tongue. I hope you could understand my point.


#18

For some inexplicable reason I feel a strong affinity for the Hudsonian Godwit, pictured below, which is famous for its trans-equatorial migrations. I think that perhaps I was a Hudsonian Godwit in a previous life, which is why I flew trans-equatorially to Taiwan from Australia. Does this mean my metabolic systems are ripe for Buddhist cultivation?

PS: I also like crustaceans and oysters and getting me toes wet at the beach.


#19

[quote=“Buddhism”]The desire-realm, where we stay in, consists of (1) mankind, (2) animals, (3) asuras, (4) hungry spirits, (5) hell, and (6) the six heavens paths. So called because the beings in these state are dominated by desires, in general, one’s consciousness is subject to the desires for food, sex, and sleep. During our transmigrations of rebirths, we don’t always manifest as a human, we could be a heavenly being or as an animal.
That’s the meaning of “…manifested as a human being,” in the Sutras, the Buddha did tell many stories about his countless past lives as a heavenly being or an animal, and he had always seek to the cultivation of the ultimate truth.
[/quote]

Actually, Buddhists usually say “manifest” when, for various reasons they don’t want to say “reborn” (which would imply not being free from the influence of karma.)

Examples:

Mahayana Buddhists are basically theists. Unlike Theravadins who are atheistic (in theory, anyway), Mahayanists believe in a transcendental Buddha who did not disappear into nirvana, but who continues to exist. (In fact the whole Mahayana universe is full of omniscient transcendental Buddhas.) Mahayanists believe the Buddha’s life as Prince Gautama and his enlightenment under the bodhi tree was just the display, or “manifestation” (Skt. nirmāṇa; Ch. 化) of an already-enlightened being. In this respect they are similar to docetic Christians, and even Hindus, with their belief in avatars.

I have also heard tibetans say “mngon du gyur pa” (i.e., manifest) when they want to say that the Buddha in his previous lives was not actually “born” as an animal, since a prophisized, irreversible, bodhisattva is not supposed to be be born in the lower realms. Instead, he “manifests” the form of an animal through the power of his compassion - he is not reborn as an animal through the force of negative karma. So they say.

And bodhisattvas aren’t supposed to take rebirth as women either. Yet there are sutras about female bodhisattvas. So the Druma-kinnararāja-paripṛcchā sutra says that bodhisattvas may show the form (示現) of a woman in order to teach other women (T.624 p358c11六者示現母人身欲多教母人。); i.e., they are not actually “born” as women.


#20

Surely you mean it has nothing to do with YOUR PARTICULAR SECT’S cultivation of Buddhism?[/quote]
I ask again. Since you failed to address this.[/quote]

Sorry, I am afraid I don’t quite understand your question.
Because you wrote “YOUR PARTICULAR SECTS”, I am not sure what you meant by this remark. As I did explain in my previous posts, Buddhist cultivation indeed has nothing to do with sex, it has to do with wisdom through correct cultivation methods. Please do pardon me, English is not my mother tongue. I hope you could understand my point.[/quote]

I think it is clear that “Buddhism” does indeed mean to say that, as a general rule, dignifying sex has nothing to do with Buddhist practice. He/she is not simply refering to his/her own sect. He/she is making a statement about all forms of Buddhism.
But Sandman seems to be thinking of tantric cults as a counter example, where sex is apparently part of the spiritual practice.
“Buddhism”, on the other hand, thinks that those tantric cults are non-Buddhist, possibly simply because of their rituals, and not because of anything they believe.
This is the crux of the issue.
How do you define a Buddhist?
Is it purely in terms of beliefs, or do we have to consider practice, too?