The hearers (sravakas, theravada, hinayana) are those who follow the teachings the Buddha gave to his first disciples on the NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH
The solitary buddhas (pratyekabuddha, hinayana) are those who realize for themselves the truth that the Buddha understood when he sat under the boddhi tree : THE TWELVE LINKS of DEPENDENT ORIGINATION
The boddhisattvas (mahayana or greater vehicle) realize the truth for the good of all sentient beings.Their greatness is in their compassion and wisdom. They commit to a single aim : to become a buddha in order to liberate ALL beings form the suffering of samsara. They act for the benefit of those sentient beings who do not understand emptiness. This wisdom is brought about through a meditation - with no point of reference, without a fixed end-point, and therefore without reaching a conclusion) that embraces emptiness or "non-abiding" (onbestendigheid). This can lead to happiness, but because nothing is permanent, the results are also non-abiding, ans thus this happiness wil not last.
Tibetan buddhist practices are based on the sutras, rather than the tantras. They require the practitioner to renounce the objects of desire that cause mental anguish.They rely on contemplations such as considering DEATH and IMPERMANENCE, as antidotes to negative mental states
Vajrayana (tantrayana) practices begin with the mahayana practices. The transition from these practices to the vajrayana involves an initiation ceremony. The approach in tantric practices is different : one's emotional reactions to things are DIRECTLY transformed, so there is no need to renounce the objects that provoke these reactions. In this transformation the five poisons (kleshas : verwarring/onwetendheid, haat/woede, trots, begeerte en jaloezie), become the five aspects of wisdom (dhyanis : de vijf kwaliteiten weer van Gautama Boeddha) :
The five poisons
The five aspects of wisdom (dhyanis)
the wisdom of reality itself
the mirror-like wisdom
the wisdom of equality
the wisdom of discernment (onderscheidingsvermogen)
the all-accomplishing wisdom
The tantras can be distinguished from the sutras by the practices they teach, involving :
the visualization mandalas of deities representing different aspects of enlightment
and the recitation of mantras.
TANTRA means "continuity", continuity between the state os an ordinary sentient being and that of a buddha.
The initiation ceremony is the ENTRY GATE to vajrayana meditation practice. The student receives an initiation from the teacher AND the deity an a NON-DUALITY. The teacher represents the deity. The deity is immanent in the teacher. The deity becomes immanent in the student as well, and this is the basis for all subsequent meditation practise focused on that deity. The more elaborated ceremony is EMPOWERMENT, usually intended for practices of the tantras of yoga and supreme yoga. The identification with the deity is the basis for subsequent sadhana practise. This is the regular daily recitation and VISUALIZATION. The practise needs a continuing commitment to a special set of vows known as SAMAYA. With the bless of the master the student enters the MANDALA and receives the vajra body, speech and mind of the buddhas.
These ceremonies are NOT 'Tibetan' as such, but are the practices and material culture of the vajrayana. These practices play a central role in "Tibetan Buddhism".
Step by step
Stage 1. Working for the benefits of future lives. Your mind turns towards the Dharma. Contemplating on the rarity of human life ánd its impermanence is intended to provide the motivation to practice. Birth as a human being is attributed to previous virtuous behavior (karma). Stage 2. Abonding samsara and working towards Liberation. You proceed along the dharma path. Stage 3. Abonding the aspirations of the hinayana and practising the mahayana. Confusion about the path is cleared away. Stage 4. Abonding all conceptual elaboration that clings to extreme views and practising the true nature of the natural state. Confusion arrises as Wisdom.
Standard meditation sessions :
begin with prayers to taking refuge and generating the awakening mind and
end with a prayer dedicating any merit achieved through the practice to the enlightment of all sentient beings.
Summary in verse
A human body which can practise the dharma is hard to find (Ngöndro, motivation) And since its nature is impermanent, it soon perishes. Understanding this well, I accept virtue (deugdzaamheid, heilzaam) and reject non-virtue; Applying this carefully is the first stage of the path.
Beings in the endless ocean of samsara (8-fold path from the hearers ?, hinayana) Are swallowed up by the sea monster of suffering. Seeing this, I aspire to the dry land of liberation; Developing this renunciation is the second stage of the path.
Beings as limitless as the sky have been my father and mother Again and again; remembering how they have helped me, With loving-kindness, compassion, and the supreme awakening mind (boddhicitta, mahayana), Working for their benefit is the third stage of the path.
Everything that appears IS my own mind, Mind itself is just a bundle of causes AND conditions like an illusion, Understanding that this illusion is free from conceptual elaboration, (madhyamaka) Cultivating the natural state is the fourth stage of the path.
Wherever I am, I will make offerings to the three Jewels (the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha), Gradually abandon all aspects of non-virtue, Help the poor and unprotected with generosity (karuna), And combine these acts with prayers of dedication pure of the three spheres, If I do this, I will surely attain temporary and ultimate aims.
All Buddhists agree that the elimination of ignorance will eliminate suffering and lead to enlightenment.
Gorampa's philosophy is based on Nāgārjuna’s concepts of emptiness and the two truths. The theory of the two truths is fundamental to all Madhyamaka philosophy. Reality is understood in terms of the conventional truth, which corresponds to the perspectives of ordinary beings, and the ultimate truth - the way things really are, independent of the concepts and conventions with which ordinary persons engage -, which can only be perceived by enlightened beings.
In order to explain the difference between a conceptual understanding and a nonconceptual realization of the ultimate truth, Gorampa divides it into two types: the ultimate that is taught and the ultimate that is realized.
The real ultimate truth is free from all concepts, including the concepts of emptiness and interdependence. It is a state that is entirely nonconceptual, and is the end goal of the Buddhist path. It should be noted that this is not, however, the same as simply not thinking.
Gorampa employs a fourfold negation known as the tetralemma in order to refute all concepts in their entirety. Use of the tetralemma as a tool in Buddhist philosophy can be traced to Nāgārjuna’s Mūlamadhyamakakārika, in which he famously remarks, “Neither from itself, nor from another, nor from both, nor without a cause, does anything, anywhere, ever, arise”. This fourfold rejection of one extreme, its opposite, both, and neither, is adopted by later Mādhyamikas and is frequently used as a tool in order to demonstrate the Madhyamaka view. The tool is also used to analyze the ultimate truth. “There is no existence, there is no nonexistence, there is no existence and nonexistence, nor is there the absence of both.”
Gorampa argues that one must negate each of the four extremes in succession by using logic and reasoning, and then one must subsequently realize the negation of all four extremes simultaneously through meditative practices.
Verder lezen Sangharakshita is the founder, principal teacher and guide of the Triratna Buddhist Order and Community. The Complete Works of Sangharakshita