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Acharya Mahayogi Sridhar Rana Rinpoche Published on 16-22 April 2007 Issue Having humbly offered marshland flowers to the Master of gods and men (sasta dev a manushyanam), the god of gods (Devadideva) the yogi of yogis, I humbly begin t his series on Buddhism. Nepal is the land where the Buddha was born and it was t he first country outside India where Buddhism spread. A vast number of Sakyas ha d become Buddhists at the time of the Buddha himself. However, leaving aside the Himalayan ethnic minority, the vast majority of the Nepalese people, including those who are supposed to be Buddhists by birth, know very little about both the Buddha and Buddhism. To the vast majority of non-Buddhist Nepalese, the Buddhalegend is based on myths coming from non-Buddhist cultures. So the Buddha become s an incarnation of Visnu and that's about all that is known about the Buddha. I n this age and era when Buddhism is spreading like wild fire across the seven se as and becoming the talk of the intellectuals across the world, Nepalese intelle ctuals fumble and mumble about the Buddha being born in Lumbini before their kno wledge about Buddhism dries up, whilst the more orthodox try to cull up what oth er famous Hindu yogis had said about the Buddha most of which are purely fabrica ted story, historically unsound and alien to any form of Buddhism around the wor ld. So, putting the horse before the cart, who or what is the Buddha or a Buddha acc ording to the Buddhists themselves? This story goes three asankhya kalpas ago. W hen there was a powerful yogi with all the siddhi and riddhis called Bhikchhu Su medha. It is said that even though he was already a powerful yogi with siddhi ri ddhis, he resolved to make the aspiration (pranidhan) to become a Buddha, in fro nt of the Buddha Dipankara, some three asankhya kalpas ago. And that was the sta rting of the making of a Buddha. This point is based on the words of the Buddha Sakyamuni himself as recorded in the Jatak which is one of the Scriptural texts found in the Tripitaka. The Jatakas are collection of the stories of Sakyamuni's former lives as told by himself. Then Bhikchhu Sumedha practiced sadhanas for three asankhya kalpas under many Bu ddhas like Kashyapa etc. until finally he became a Buddha. Whether we regard thi s story as mere myth or real, it is the Buddhist version and speaks abundantly a bout the Buddhist culture related to who or what a Buddha is. Even if it be cons idered as only a myth it is the Buddhist myth as opposed to non Buddhist myths a bout the Buddha. But myth or not it does tell us a lot about who or what a Buddh a is to the Buddhists and about Buddhism. This story says that a Buddha is a sen tient being who is the acme of spiritual development, as he was already a powerf ul yogi when he began his journey to Buddhahood. Thus he is the king of all yogi s. Also he is not some kind of a God or incarnation of a God, but rather a human being who started on the long journey to become a Buddha. In the process, the J atakas tell us he was born many times as Devas like Indra etc, many times as hum ans etc. This opens up the Buddhist concept that there is not much difference be tween the Gods and men and animals in terms of cycle of existence, because the c ontinuity of the same mental continuum can be a deva at one time and a human at another time. So devas in Buddhism are not eternally fixed devas but can die and be born as humans etc. depending upon the karma they have accumulated. This mea ns karma is not fixed thing bestowed upon men by some super gods but rather the actions one's own self has perpetrated and the result one's own self has to expe rience and is changeable by one's ownself. So a Buddha is not a God come down to
Suddhodhan and Mayadevi were n ot gods and goddesses or even their avatar. Because of the immeasurable merit he accumulated during the three immeasurable k alpas of practice he was born with the 32 lakchhyanas (physical characteristics) and 80 anubyanjanas (sub characteristics). Visnu and Mahesh comi ng to greet him at his birth as is shown in the sculpture in Lumbini and in many paubha paintings. But it must be made cleat that these 32 lakchhyanas and anu byanjanas are not the same attributed to Krishna. he was the eldest of all sentient beings (including Gods and Bramah of the highest Deva lokas) at the point of birth itself. although his physical endowments continue to be that of a human. he asked Ambatha "How did you behave with him?" When Ambatha told him how he behaved. ignorance of ones own true nature (swarup). His level of mind is no more the same as the level of mind of any human or gods and goddesses for that matte r. This is the meaning of Bramah. and gods and goddesses beco me humans and animals according to their karma performed in the past and present . gandharva or human. A Buddha is the result of the spirit ual practice of three immeasurable kalpas (tri asankhya kalpa). But in Buddhism as I have already mentioned humans are not some eternally stuck beings whose lot i s to be humans for ever. but the Sasta/Guru/Master of h umans and Devas in terms of spiritual development. who have no connection with human s. a swirl of white hair between the eye brows. It is those very humans who became gods and goddesses a ccording to the actions they have performed (karma). These two are concepts which exis ted in the sub-continent even before the time of Sakyamuni because we find the B rahmin Puskarswati sending his Brahmin disciple Ambatha to check whether Gautam was really a Buddha and had those characteristics or not. he was a human but ha ving become a Buddha he was no more a mere human. thus according t o the Lalitvistar. Some of the major part of which are a golden colored s kin. In fact the mind of a Buddha is no more like any sentient beings in the entire u niverse called Trisahasra mahasahasra loka dhatu in Buddhist culture. and a mound on top of the skul l which gives the impression that he has tied his hair in a tuft on the crown. What is the meaning of the word Buddha and how is a Bu ddha different from being a human? Published on 22-29 April 2007 Issue He was born a human of a human mother and father. So how was he not a human? Humans are those who are still engrossed in emotio nal defilements. he cannot be said to be a human. and still lost in ignorance. T hat is why he called himself "Sasta deva manushyanam" which means the Spiritual Guru or Master of Devas and humans. Since a Buddha is neith er entangled in emotional defilements nor is he ignorant of the true nature of a ll that exists including himself. not a yakchhya. These are a more ancient versi on of the 32 lakchhyanas. Being born as a human. the Mahasangik record of the Buddha's life. Ambatha was rude to th e Buddha. it is said Pusk arswati gave him a swat on the face and went himself to apologize for his discip le's rude behaviour. T hat tuft like mound on top of all Buddha statues is actually not a tuft of hair tied up in a bun above the crown as most non Buddhist Nepalese think but rather .help mankind but a person that has reached the acme of spiritual development. These are found only amongst those w ho will become a Chakravarti King or a Buddha. Ignorance here does not mean ignor but ignorance of the way the world re ance of worldly knowledge whatever they be ally exists. That's why the Buddha himself told the Bramin Drona to understand him as a Buddha as he wa s not a Deva. no t a Gandharva and not a human as well. yakchhya. The Buddha is certainly not a God or an e manation of any God by any Buddhist account but then if he is not a human too wh at is he? He is a Buddha. He himself clearly said in th e Drona Sutra of the Anguttara Nikaya that he was not a Deva. So devas are not eternal gods and goddesses. he appears to be a snobbish Brahmin but when the learned Brahmin Puska rswati heard that Gautam indeed had those characteristics. They were humans.
Now that means these first generation disciples were enlightened to various degrees according to the Buddha himself. that the Buddha is made into an avatar of Visnu a nd Krishna whose very name means black is also said to have the 32 lakchhyanas. who have trans mitted unbroken. second generation. this knowledge seems to have bec ome lost in the Brahmanical systems in later centuries after the Buddha. As these first generations had experienced themselves the Bodhi of the Buddha to various degrees. the knowledge of the Buddha's teaching from generation to gener ation up to date. these characteristics were well known to the Brahmins of the time of th e Buddha and mentioned in their texts too. As there can be no two lions in the same forest so there can be no two Buddhas at the same time or two different teachings of tw o different Buddhas at the same time. Now these disciples authenticated the degrees of enlightenme nt of their disciples who were the second generation. So a new Buddha arises only after the sasa na (dispensation) of the one before him has totally vanished. more t han anybody else these disciples would be the authentic authorities on what was the Buddha's Bodhi. although some of them are common. Right now the disp ensation of Sakya Muni Buddha still exists and is going strong and so no other B uddha can arise.a peculiar bump of the skull found only in the Buddha or a Chakravarti Kings. there was no one who was validated as enlightened. The pandit lineage can not validate authentically the experie nce of someone as valid Buddhist enlightenment or not. and Mahayan literature. . Only a scientist can test whether a new student has the knowle dge he himself has and definitely not a non scientist. I am sure there can be no two thoughts about this much. third generation etc etc. as a whole both the lineages exist unbro ken and alive. In the Buddhism of today. For this validation to remain authentic and pure. A flower said to bloom only when a Buddha attains full enlightenmen t and that was very rare. This is exactly what the Buddha did when he declared hundreds of his disciples as arhats or srotapannas or sagridagami or bodhisattvas who had attained Darsan marga or higher up the la dder. they wou ld know better than anybody else which of their disciples had reached/attained/e xperienced various degrees of the Buddha's Bodhi. t he lineage is broken as far as enlightenment is concerned. So. So the Buddha historically validated different level s of enlightenment amongst his disciples. These new words bring us closer to what the Buddhists call enlightenment but we shall deal with them a little later after having dealt with the "Unbroken enligh tened lineage" issue first. But. Even the Brahmins of the Buddha's time knew that a Buddha is as rare as the Udum bara flower. According to the Ambatha sutta. Taking this metaphor (which should not be stretched too far like all other metap hors) we can say that the Buddha and only the Buddha could possible validate whe ther or not another person he has taught has experienced the same Bodhi or not. It is the Masters of these lineages who are the authentic dissemi nators of the Buddha's teachings and not others no matter how brilliant or profo und their explanations of the Buddha's teachings are. Even if in one generation. I do not think there can be tw o minds about it. Sarv astivad. till the present time. Maitreya Buddha will arise only after the dispensation of Sakya Muni has totally vanished. Digha Nikaya. Likewise only Masters of Buddha's unbroken lineage can gauge whether the practitioners of the next genera tion have attained the Buddha's Bodhi to some degree or not and not other non Bu ddhists. because we find in later Hindu texts. A Buddha arises only when the teachings of a Buddha be fore him has been totally lost. These are characteristics not found in any non Buddhist devas o r yogis. even if it continues. the lineage should be unbroken generation to generation from the time of the Buddha through the first generation. That then is an unbroken lineage but not an enlightened unbroken lineage. But that is not an unbroken enlightened lineage but and unbrok en pandit lineage. It can only infer based o n scriptures. and this is recorded in Theravad. ca lled the usnisa. There are other kinds of lineages like the pandit lineage of scholars.
is the height of naive . But there is another aspect which needs to be dealt with. An aspect of the above mentioned misconception has already been show n as totally absurd. A s the Buddha's immediate disciples had experienced in their own mental continuum what the Buddha meant. Published on 14-20 May 2007 Issue While dealing with various interpretation or more aptly misinterpretation of Bud dhism made by non-buddhist yogis and the like it seems apt to point out some of the more common ones before continuing with the lineage issue. there's no need for others who do not belong to such authentic line ages to explain or even teach Buddhism based on one's own personal ideas. Vajrayana. And those Mahayana lineages of those Mahavihars were unbroken and continue to remain alive and vibrant up till this day. Paramitayana 2.Published on 7-13 May 2007 Issue Actually since such lineage Masters of both types of lineage exist in abundance in both the Mahayana and Sravakayana tradition. taught by pandits of an unbroken lineage who were themse lves taught by such pandits going back to Sakya Muni himself and they were also Bhikchhus. did not understand him while non-bu ddhist swamis and yogis really understood him and that too after two thousand fi ve hundred years afterwards is indeed a bit far fetched to say the least. there could not possibly have been any distortion. Greece. the names of the unbroken lineage Masters from Masters of present day back to Nalanda. there is also an unbroken Bhikchhu lineage from the time of the Buddha till today. No rat ional person could possibly agree with such flagrant distortion of reality. First of all. Some Masters hold all the three unbroken lineages. In Mahayana. So th is is the meaning of unbroken enlightened lineage and unbroken pandit lineage. which means that each genera tion experienced in their mental continuum. A corollary to the above misconception is that the Buddha actually taught what w as in the Vedas but his disciples either did not understand his teaching or dist orted them. but at the same time are also pandits. So to say that the Buddha's disciples who walked the breadth of North India with him and s tudied with him for forty years or more and were validated by the Buddha himself . many of them being holders of bo th lineages. but well recorded. It is not a thing of the past histor y which can be explained according to one's preferences and conditionings. as we have see n. who themselves were made by B hikchhus by older generations going back right upto Sakya Muni himself. And a s the living enlightened lineages continue to date. the exact meaning of the Buddha's te achings. made by Bhikchhus by older generations. These ar e not unrecorded facts. Needles s to say people are free to interpret as they deem fit the teachings of the Budd ha but such interpretations should not be mistaken as authentic Buddhism. the same thing as the Vedanta of the Vedic system but his disciples did not understand him. The Bu ddha's teaching is still alive and dynamic. People from as far away as China. which consists of two Ma jor streams :. Central Asia. Now a lot of nonbuddhists believe with ease such blatant fallacies. They are e nlightened Masters authenticated by their Masters who themselves were authentica ted by their Masters thus going backwards to the Buddha himself. W ithin Buddhism. Egypt came to study in t hese learning houses which were virtually Mahaviharas (Great monastic complexes) . One of the oft re peated concept is that the Buddha actually taught. And everybody knows that these great Mahav ihars were like huge universities whose lineage goes back to the Buddha. to claim that the Buddhists distorted the Buddha's teachings and that's why it has become so different from the Vedic teachings. The meaning of the sutras and sastras of Buddhism should be according to the Masters of such lineages and not otherwi se. There have been many interpreters of the Buddha's teachings in the Indian su bcontinent who never studied under any of the authentic lineage masters.1. that they fully understood what he taught. the Buddha himself validated the scholastic and experiential understanding of all his immediate disciples and their lineages still exist unbroken. Korea. Bikramashila etc etc are we ll recorded and available even today.
However. we cannot say that Buddhism was not influenced by Vedic Brahmanis m and later Hinduism at all. including Buddhist Newars by the . that. an d there is no two thoughts about this. but they do not have any historical validity. would like to believe that the Buddhism is a branch of Hi nduism.ty. So Sramanism was an equally old (if not older) stream of spiritual system as Brahma nism and the Buddha has clearly called himself Mahasraman. Hinduism embraced Buddhis m and in the process killed it. We could give scholastic quotes to validate this but it's not necessary in an article lik e this. Sramanism was proba bly older than the Vedic Brahmanism. Thi s notion is given further credence to Nepalese. that was quite different from what is known as Hinduism today.6. It should be kept in mind that both the Buddha and Mahavir called themselves Mahasramans. And also the style of questioning of Gargi is a shade different from the questio ns put forth by the many other Brahmins in that same text. In fact. in the give and tak e which is inevitable in any culture within a space of time (and Buddhism covere d 75% of India and 75% Asia for sixteen or so hundred years). However. Published on 21-27 May 2007 Issue But of course. or otherwise. from C entral Asia. In one of the most famous mantras of Buddhism 'ye dharma hetu prabaha hetustat hagato hyevadat tesancha yo nirodho evam badi mahasramana. Vedic Brahmanism metamorphosed drastically due to the catalytic influenc e of Buddhism and others and became the multifarious system under the generic na me of Hinduism. The Brihadaranyak is thought to be at least 2-3 hundred years older than the Buddha if not older. Radhakrishnan Sarvapulli put it. what we call Hinduism is 75% derived from Buddhism and is the offspring of the impact of Buddhism on the Brahmanic sy stem. One was Sramanism and the other was Vedic Brahmanism. which is a clear indication that they did not subscribe to the Brahmanic systems . This would clearly im ply that Buddhism is definitely not an off-shoot of Brahmanism. what to speak of Hinduism which is a product of Brahmanism's interaction with Buddhism and thus something that developed in the Indian sub-continent after the Buddha. We know that Gargi was a Sraman by the fa ct that she stuck a twig of the rose-apple (Jambu tree) as a sign of challenge. according to histo rical records and anthropological studies. This misunderstanding is rampant amongst educated Hindus and is a correl ate of the story fabricated in the 16th century and later in the Shiva Purana an d its likes. From ancient times there were t wo streams of spiritual quest in the Indian sub-continent. it was Hinduism wh ich took mostly from Buddhism and not the other way around. Sramanis m is definitely an indigenous spiritual tradition of the Indian subcontinent. Aswajit. First of all Hinduism as it is known today did not exist at the time of the Buddha. These two streams did interact with each other as is seen clearly in the Upanishads of the Brahmanic systems and the sutras of the Buddhists and Jains who were both members of the sramanic system. according to many historians came int o India when the Indo-Aryans transmigrated into the Indian sub-continent. We see the transactions between the Sramans and Brahmins in the Brihadaranyak Up anishad 3. so there can be no question about Buddhism being a branch of Hinduism. the famous B rahmin disciple of the Buddha called the Buddha Mahasramana. that the Buddha was an incarnation of Visnu. Another interrelated myth is that it was Sankaracharya who defeated the Buddhist s all over India and that is how Buddhism vanished from India or as the former P resident of India Dr. What existed in the Buddha's time was a form of Brahmanism.1 where we find Gargi (who is often vaunted as the daughter of Nepal ) challenging the Brahmin Yagyavalkya. That would be too naïve. And this brings us to another similar misconception about Buddhism. But there are many who do not agree to this view. Most Hindu s cholars. Again these are myths running wild amongst Hindu s of the Indian sub-continent.
his philosophy or tenets were like the Buddhists'. when the Vajrayana form of Buddhism was in sway. First of all the Adi Sankarachar ya was around the 7th century and great Mahavihars like Nalanda and Bikramashila were still running strong till the 12th /13th century when the Muslims over ra n India and destroyed them. that was the golden period of Indian culture as a whole and I ndian Buddhism specifically. So. Big learning houses like Nalanda. Till then Buddhism was still flourishing strong in the Indian subcontinent. But the stories do say he died in Tibet. This happened in the 12th/13t h century. Bikramashila etc were raised to the ground and the monks beheaded and the books in the libraries burnt to cinders b y the Islamic invaders like Bakhtiar. almost 5 centuries after Sankaracharya. He may possibly be the same Harinanda who was defeated by the G reat Tibetan Guru Sakya Pandit. Buddhism was still running s trong five century after Adi Sankaracharya. No. Published on 28 May . Buddhists and Jains. as a result of inter action with Buddhism. . Till then 75% of Indian subcontinent and 75% Asia w as Buddhist. far from it. Thirdly. From the time of the Buddha and specially from the 1st/2nd century till the 11th/12th century. converted the kings and beheaded the Bhikchhus. which is a metamorphosed form of Vedic Hindui sm. This clearly shows how even Sankara was influence d by Buddhism. Secondly there were still Mahasiddhas like Naropa. However he did not die before he created havoc amongst the Buddhists of Kathmandu Valley. It should be remembe red that Sankaracharya who is considered as the cream of Hinduism by an overwhel ming majority of the Hindus. However this is not conclusive.Newari legend that Sankaracharya came to Nepal and defeated all the Buddhists. The great Buddhist Nyaiyayik (logician) Dharmakirti literally cha nged the logical system of the Indian subcontinent with his Buddhist logical ten ets. the misconception that Sankarachary a went up and down India defeating all the Buddhists and this is how Buddhism va nished from India seems to be baseless and fabricated by uneducated Non-Buddhist s. Bud dhist art. It is said in the diary of Khi lji's general that. It was only after Buddhism was literally raised to the ground by the Islamic I nvaders that present day Hinduism. In fact those stories show Sankaracharya debating mostly with other non-adva ita Hindus and rarely with the Buddhist. do not contain any element which mentions that he debated with the Buddhists all over India and defeated th em. T ilopa and many others till the Muslim invasion. Why did these Hindu pillars call Sankaracharya a crypto-Buddhist? This is not because he. And furthermore. It said one of the reasons why the Buddhist monasteries were specially picked out by the Islamic invaders is that they mistook the monks in uniform monk dress as uniformed army men and t he books in the library as books on warfare et al. So he did not find any match for his debates and was able to convert many peop le in Kathmandu. So. he has attempted to refute the Buddhist tenets. It is because he has used th e Buddhist logical modus operandii to refute all his opponents which included th e Hindus. This was also the period when. He seems to have entered Nepal whe n Buddhism was beginning to decline in Nepal as a result of its having declined in India due to the Islamic invasion which literally destroyed Buddhism in India . the books of the library of Nalanda took six months for the cinders to settle down and nine months for the smoke to settle down. the Sankaracharya that came to Nepal seems to be of the 11th-12th ce ntury or later and not the Adi Sankaracharya. began to raise its head. It can certa inly be said that. So much des truction took place all over the Indian subcontinent. Khilji etc. the stories of Sank aracharya as written by Ananda Giri and Madhava etc. but the Buddhists have also equally refuted the co ncepts of Sankara. was a product of the 6/7th century and many ancient Hindus like Bhaskaracharya etc even called him pracchanna Bauddha (crypto Buddh ist). philosophy and logic developed to its fullest potential.June 3 2007 Issue Yes the Adi Sankaracharya refuted the Buddhist tenets in his commentaries of the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra. Hinduism also developed to its cream. Debate and refutation was both ways till the Islamic Invasion . who still do not seem to have recovered from the shock.
The two tantric s ystems of the Indian subcontinent are as different from each other as Theravada is from Vaisnavism. unchangin g entity called the true Self or true Atman. the path foll owed by each and the final goal of each. In the Hindu system one merges non-dually with the eternal. and be cause Buddhism and Hinduism developed first and foremost within the cultural mil ieu of the Indian subcontinent.e. It was written after Vajrayana vanished from India after the Islamic Invasio n. o thers on Shiva and some on Visnu. So we shall stop here about these po ints. Hindu Tantra developed after Buddhist Tantra (Vajrayana) reached its acme in the Indian subcontinent. words like mantra. but that would require detailed technical nitty grittie s which is not the purpose of this article. the two are only apparently similar. Published on 4-10 June 2007 Issue Hinduistic Tantra is based on the experience of an eternally existing. unchanging Self as opposed to the changing world. they are all varieties of advaita Vedanta where other name s substitute the Brahma of the Vedanta. Parasamvit or Sambhava states.Another big confusion is that the Buddhist Tantra was a result of the influence of Hindu Tantra on Buddhism. unchanging Self. Although Hindu Tantra developed as a result of the influence of Vajrayana on the entire subcontinent. Since Hinduism and Hindu Tantra also uses Sanskrit. There are also many differences in the path. But the famous Indian Iconographist Benoytosh Bhatt acharya has amply proven that it is the other way around. Both experience is a non-dual experience. Now the whole of Buddhist Tantra is geared to the realization of emptine ss (sunyata) which is a subtle form of Anatma. For example. These rampant confusions exist amongst the non buddhists of the Indian subcontin . Most of them are geared towards the real ization of the Eternal unchanging self called the Atma in the entire Hinduistic system. In Buddhist Tantra one sees through that there is no eternal . adv aya. The entire Hindu Tantric systems are themselves diverse. it is not surprising that similar words are used in both system. some based on Shakti. Now this mea ns this oldest Hindu Tantra was written after the 12th century and not before th at. dhyana. i. In the Buddhist context the word only means wra thful and not any particular deity as is the case in Hinduism. Tibetans came down to the hot plains of India to study the tenets of Va jrayana in the great learning houses like Nalanda/Bikramashila etc. One of the oldest Hindu Tantric literature the Pichu Tantra also called the Rudr ayamala and the Brahmayamala very clearly states that Vasistha went to Mahachina (Tibet) to study the tantric methods with Shiva-rupi Buddha. Samadhi are common to b oth but do not necessarily mean exactly the same thing and one must not be foole d by the use of such common words to conclude that Buddhism and Hinduism are the same. Excepting t he dualistic tantras. One famous Nepalese Brahmin scholar saw that the word Bhairava is used in the mantra of Bignantak and used that as a proof that the Buddhist worship Bhai rava and thus they are the same. unchanging Self and that is the n on-dual experience. A deeper probe int o both of them exposes a tremendous difference not only of the paradigms on whic h each is based but also on the principles on which each is based. Nothing could be further away from the truth. whereas the entire Buddhist Tantra is based on the experience that from the very beginning there is no eternally ex isting. All forms of Mahayana Buddhism within which Vajrayana lies. Now till the 12th century. Many scholars have been confused by similar words like advaita/advaya and m any others used in both the systems and believe that they are two versions of th e same thing. So there is no two. uses Sanskrit as its lingua franca. So these are some o f the myths about Buddhism rampant amongst non-buddhists of Nepal which needed t o be exploded. The objective of most of them is to unite with the deity and finally attain Brahma. Only the name Tantra is the same but even the exact definiti on of tantra in each of the system is drastically different.
what to speak of the enlightenment of non-buddhist systems. Now these Arhats are neither Buddhas nor is their Bod hi (enlightenment) considered as Samyak Sambodhi. were completely oblivious about its reality and continued to subscribe to the rumors made up by their Indian Gurus. that is the enlightened state of each of th em. But remarkably enough blinded by their own cultural preconceptions. The goals. Thailand. Maud galyayana and Sariputra) had penetrated Dhammadhatu (in Sanskrit Dharmadhatu) wh ich even the other Arhats had not penetrated. Samyukta Nikaya (which is a form of Sravakayan) the two agrasravakas (foremost disciples of the Buddha. that in Nepal where Buddhism never died. If Buddhism itself says there are 3 different enlight enments which may be similar but not exactly the same. China. Sri Lanka. Within Buddhism from very ancient times. even in the times o f former Buddhas there were three distinct highways. how can others claim that non-buddhist enlightenment and the enlightenment of the Buddha are the same? It is not even clear which of the three Bodhis they are talking about when they cl aim that their enlightenment is the same as the enlightenment of the Buddha. The Sr avakyana 2.ent because. Unless a person has became totally free from all kles ha to claim that she/he is an Arhat is like a fox claiming that she/he is a lion . Bhutan. according to the Theravadin sutta. Here we shall take issue with all those who believe or claim that the enlightenment taught by the Buddha is the same enlightenment as taught by other non-Buddhist Masters includi ng those who claim to be Buddhists or teach Buddhism but do not stem from any au thentic Buddhist lineages. It is common place for absurd rumors to sprea d like wild fire in the absence of authentic information. Burma . bias es and prejudices even the non buddhists of the Kathmandu Valley who could not b ut rub shoulders with it constantly. the non buddhist populace virtually know nil about authentic Buddhism. They are called :-1. Laos. The former have pratiharya (miraculous powers) whilst the latte r usually have less of it. The Pratyek buddhayana 3. Korea. the enlightenment of the Buddha. i. though similar are not exactly the same. This is indeed one of the world's best epitome of how blind spots control the human min d. Not only that much.e. Published on 11-17 June 2007 Issue Now let s go back to the unbroken enlightened lineages. the Cis Himalayan regions of Nepal and India. it has been over nine centuries since Buddhism was erased from the memory of the Indian subcontinent. Buddhism is still alive and dynamic in Central Asia. Tibet. An Arhat is someone whose kleshas (emotional defilements) have be come totally extinguished. those who become Arhats through samat ha and vipassana practice and those who become Arhats through what is called Suk kha Vipassana/Vipassyana which means practicing Vipassana after attaining only t he first dhyana. and this i s not according to Buddhism itself the same as the Pratyek bodhi which is the en lightenment of a pratyek Buddha and both of the above are not exactly the same a s the Samyagsambodhi of a Samyak sambuddha. So to claim that whatever other no n-buddhist Masters call enlightenment (Bodhi) is the same enlightenment as the B uddha and his disciples is to display gross ignorance about what Buddhism is all about. Cambodia. But in reality Buddhism continued to survive in ful l fledge in other lands where it was taken by the inhabitants of the Indian subc ontinent themselves. The goal of Sravakyana is Sravak bodhi which is the same as to say to be come an Arhat. so each was free to interpret it according to one's own predilictions. and in the Kathmandu Valley. and in fact according to the Buddhist notion. Mongol ia. Likewise the re is the enlightenment of the Pratyek-Buddhas called Pratyek bodhi which is nei . There are two different types of Arhats. Japan. Now here within the Buddhist traditi on itself we find three different enlightenments and this is something we have f ound that most non-buddhist teachers were totally unaware of. The Bodhisatvayana also sometimes called the Samyak sambodhiyana. The people of the Indian subcontinent came to believe that Buddhism had died out completely and did not exist at all. Thus the enlightenment of the Srava kyana is called Sravak Bodhi which is the enlightenment of the Arhat. Vietnam.
pe ople go through four stages of enlightenment in which they become progressively free from Klesha until they become completely free of all klesha (emotional defi lements).e. Then his career begin s. there will be a gap between the extinction and th e coming of Maitreya Buddha.July 1 Issue Thus there are three distinct 'yanas' i. what to speak of Buddhas. No other person. To become a Buddha one must cross the pancha marga (the fi ve paths) and these may take a longer or shorter time but there are no short cut as some have misconceived. however. Sarvastivadins have different categorizations in order to explain the path o f the Bodhisattvas. Nor has anyone heard any particular person miraculously turning into a Bhikchhu with all its regalia at the point of his enlightenment. For example. It is said that at the moment when they attain Pratyek bodhi. In the Sravakayana it is the progressive experience of nirvandhatu (Pal . Mahasangik as. Perhaps an explanation of the pancha s to Buddhahood marga (five paths) will clarify the above statement. Some scholars say that they developed in to 24 lineages. Various lineages like Theravada. Now let us talk about Samyak Sambodhi which is t he enlightenment of a Buddha. and in later centuries developed in to 18 distinct lineages called Nikayas. a being destined to be a Buddha in the future) begins his career by making the resolve in front o f a living Buddha. Published on 25 June . The remaining two. but let us finish with the unbroken enlightened lineage issue first. vehicles of which there are no unbrok en lineages of the Pratyek Buddhas. no ma tter what their get-up was they will miraculously be transformed into full fledg ed Bhikchhus along with the Bhikcchu dress. that he too has determined to become a Buddha like himself to be able to free immeasurable sentient beings from sorrow. First of all a bodhisattva (i. we shall use the explanation of Mahayana-Vajrayana which is similar to that of the Sarvastivadins. It is only these who make the resolve to become a Buddha in front of a living Buddha and practice the six or ten paramitas for 3 to 4 Asankh ya Kalpas. when the Buddhas teaching have become complet ely extinct. Published on 18-24 June 2007 Issue Pratyekbuddhas arise only in the gaps between the teachings of two Buddhas. And this is c orrect. no matter how intelligent and how great a meditator can and shoul d be called a Buddha. These Pratyek Buddhas do not teach l ike Arhats or Buddhas. Arhathood was the final stage of these lineages and not everybody was called an Arhat the moment he experienced some extraordinary state of mind. They do not appear at other times. because Pratyek Buddhas will not arise until Shakyamuni's sasan (dispens ation) has completely died out. They are loners or live in groups of Pratyek Buddhas and only answer questions asked but do not formally teach. These were the Sravakayana lineages whose methods produced Arhat s. the Sravakayana and the B odhisattvayana were both taught by the Shakyamuni and their unbroken lineages co ntinue till today.e. Here. when the dispensation of Sakya Muni has become completely extinct. These six paramitas are practiced from three to four asankhya kalpas during which period the Bodhisattva crosses through the five paths called the pancha marga. They are those who have already practiced in many lives with other Buddha s and they will practice based on their memories of the teachings of the Buddhas under whom they practiced before. In fact. It is during this period that Pratyek Buddhas will arise. but they are not really different in essence. there ar e no Pratyek Buddhas now at this period when the dispensation of Sakyamuni is st ill alive. who become a Buddha as a culmination of their path and not others. It is only those who have become completely free of all klesha. whose klesha have been completely destroyed. Needless to say. that are called Arhats.ther the same as the Arhats' nor that of a Buddha. The career or path of the Bodhisattva is practicing the six paramitas (someti mes also called the ten paramitas). The teachings and lineages related to Sravak Bodhi continued to grow after the Parinirvana of the Shasta.
People who experience only the pure awareness by itself do not become pe rmanently free of any klesha even after experiencing such a state which I have s aid is relatively easy to experience for anybody who has a mind. So let me recap itulate once again. This issue is crucial not only to understand what is genuine. Thailand a nd Sri Lanka. It has many lineages and there are still enlightened masters in Laos. But China still have an unbroken Bhikchhun i sanga of the Mahasangika Nikayas. It means he has entere d the stream (srota) which will carry him towards Arhathood. authentic Buddhism but also for the existence of authentic Buddhism itself. The path to Arhathood or Buddhahood is a slow and gradual path. but when the Buddha was told about this. until and unless he is authenticated by a ma ster or masters of such authentic unbroken enlightened lineages. no matte r how many years he has spent in retreat. There are two more stages of enlightenment before he becomes a fully enlightened Arhat. . It was the Buddha himself who declared an d thus stamped the authenticity of the Srotappanna. short path. No yogi / yoginis or practitioner is accepted as a Genuine Master (Guru) no matt er how intelligent he may be. that is not even what the srotappanna experi ences what to speak of an Arhat or even further a Buddha? There seems to be a lo t of confusion about this point in the spiritual market especially in Nepal. And these masters are both householders (upasakas / upasikas) and monks and nuns (Bhikchhus / Bhikchhunis). So people who experien ce only such states are not ever considered as enlightened let alone Arhats or B uddhas. Needless to say. Burma. dynamic and going strong. Experiencing such states is relatively easy and quick. he ca lled them and told them they had not become Arhats yet. So let's make this point clear once and for all. And the first glimpse of nibbandha tu cuts off three major klesha and is called srotappatti. The Buddha himse lf has said that extinguishing the klesha (emotional defilement) is a slow and g radual process and therefore becoming an Arhat or Buddha is a slow and gradual p rocess. there is a story that some Bhikchhus who had reached t he very high state of Anagami (those who will not return to human forms) claimed that they had reached Arhathood. And he has become e nlightened but not fully enlightened. However. one must study and practice under such lineage masters and be confirmed by such a Master. This is how the Buddhist system works from th e time of the Shasta (Master) himself. T his is the raison d'etre for an unbroken enlightened lineage. wh at to speak of an Arhat. This is the Bud dhist culture in all Buddhist countries where the unbroken enlightened lineages have not died out.i: nibbandhatu) that is called enlightenment. That does not mak e methods which produce such mind-states or awareness as the quick. just experiencing a thoughtless pure awareness by itself is not any kind of enlightened state nor is the ability to remain in that state an enlightened state. So. Published on 2-8 July Issue Of the eighteen to twenty four Sravakayana lineages. For anybody to become even a srotappanna. as enlightenment and some go even further and call people who experience such thoughtless pure awareness by itself as Buddhas. Sakridagami. Anagami and Arh ats of his time. All forms of Buddh ism and specially lineages of the Mahayana place great importance and value to t he purity of such an authentic unbroken enlightened lineage. the Bhikchhuni lineage of the Theravada tradition has been broken. This story implies that only Arhats and Buddhas can know whether a person has become an Arhat or not and that the individual himself cannot possibly know it and can easily be fooled. Sravakayana o r Bodhisattvayana claims that the experience of pure awareness by itself / Pure thoughtless Awareness / Watcher as the enlightened state. no matter how hard he may have practiced. No form of Buddhism. In fact. Many non-buddhist systems in the b azaar call the experience of thoughtless awareness. it is still alive. We shall speak in more detail about this point when we talk a bout the Buddhist enlightenment. only the Theravada (which d eveloped out of the Vibhajyyavadin which itself developed out of the Sthabirvadi ns) remains today. no matter how scholarly he is. However. no matt er how much of an orator he may be.
D . He wrote many books on Zen Buddhism which was crucial in popularizi ng Zen Buddhism in the west. T. he himself never called himself an Osho or Zenji or Roshi which are all Japanese words. he never received the title o f Roshi / Zenji / Osho etc. He was a good practitioner of Zen Buddhism. The Zen and Pureland Schools pronounce those two ideographs as Osho. older Masters authenticate them as Masters. When he died not a few masters said that he was alr eady enlightened. Published on 9 -15 July 2007 Issue A very good example is that of the famous scholar of Zen Buddism Professor Dr. when he completes the training and the Master is satisfied that he has attained the f inal Satori (enlightenment). and in Japanese the pronunciation v aries with the particular lineage. authentic books of Buddhism. It is made up of two Chinese ideographs which is pronounced as Hwa Shang in Chinese. which are the authentication of his enlightenment fr om any of the Masters. Koans are questions which point directly to the nature of mind and dharma and the student has to show that he has experienced directly what is being pointed out by the question. while the Tendai school pronounces those same ideographs as Kasho and in the Shingon School (Japanese Vajr . But because he had never sat for the dharma battles (The Zen s ystem of interview) with any of the older Masters. We shall talk more about t his later when we describe the Zen lineages. In the Rinzai school of Zen the person has to complete the course by answering a series of three or fou r hundred koans. This entitles him to teach. no one is entitled to call himself Roshi unless he has completed this course and been validated by his own Master and at least 3-4 other masters. Roshi means old venerable Master which is given to a disciple whether he be a lay person or a monk. For now. In essence they are not questions but fingers pointing to the dharmata of all dharmas (phenomena). Suzuki.forget about non-buddhists who have never practiced any form of genuine Buddhis t practices of either the Sravakayana or the Bodhisattvayana even by reading gen uine. The word Osho is also a Japanese word wh ich is given to a Master who is a monk. and had attained a very high level. Zenji means Zen Master. even those who have studied and practiced for long periods under authentic masters do not dare pretend to be Masters until an d unless.
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