Chapter Thirty Eight

The Abhidharma is supposed to deal with four ultimate realities - consciousness (chitta), mental states (chetasika), matter (rupa), and nirvana. Matter shares with consciousness and mental states the character of being a conditioned reality, whereas nirvana is an unconditioned reality. In considering the three conditioned realities, we can simultaneously treat the five aggregates of psycho-physical existence. is harks back to what we said in Chapter 33 about the relationship between subject and...

Chapter Twenty Two e Origins of the Vajrayana Tradition

Let us begin by looking at the Vajrayana tradition briefly in the context of the Mahayana. Ne Mahayana tradition is divided into two paths, the practice of the perfections (Paramitayana) and the practice of the Vajrayana (Mantrayana). Ne Vajrayana is a part of the Mahayana tradition. Nere is no distinction between the two in terms of their starting point (the experience of suffering) and their goal (Buddhahood). Ne only difference is in methodology whereas accomplishment of the path of the...

Chapter Twenty e development of

In this chapter I would like to consider the further development of Mahayana philosophy in India, the relationship between the Middle Way philosophy and the Mind Only philosophy, and how these two influence the religious and practical traditions of Buddhism. We have discussed the Middle Way and Mind Only philosophies in Chapter 18 and Chapter 19, but have merely sketched the outlines of Mahayana philosophy. e philosophy of the Middle Way, as presented by Nagarjuna, and that of Mind Only, as...

Chapter Forty e irtyeven aors of Enlightenment

T he thirty-seven factors conducive to enlightenment (bodhi-pakkhiya dhamma)are important for two reasons. First, according to tradition, they were recommended by the Buddha, shortly before his entry into final nirvana, as primary means of gaining enlightenment. Second, these factors form a fundamental part of the foundation of the Abhidharma, in that they belong to that category of teaching, like the teaching on the five aggregates, that comprises the Abhidharmic contents of the Sutra Pitaka....

E ife of the Buddha

Next I would like to turn to the life of the Buddha Shakyamuni. I shall not attempt to treat this topic exhaustively, nor to cover the great majority of the biography of Shakyamuni. e accounts of the life of the Buddha are for the most part narrative, and they have been presented elsewhere by both ancient and modern authors. Instead, I would like to use this brief consideration of the life of the Buddha to draw attention to a few important Buddhist values that are strikingly illustrated in the...

Chapter Sixteen e eart utra

In this chapter we will discuss a very important class of Mahayana literature that concerns the perfection of wisdom (prajnaparamita). But before we look at the texts themselves, it may be useful to examine the meaning of the term prajnaparamita and the history of the Perfection of Wisdom discourses. e term prajna, which is often translated 'wisdom' or 'insight,' is composed of the prefix pra and the root jna which means knowledge. Pra added to the root jna gives the sense of spontaneity,...

Part ree

e Origins of the Vajrayana Philosophical and Religious Myth and Psychology, Physiology, and e Preliminary e Vajrayana Vajrayana Buddhism in An Introduction to the Philosophy & Psychology in the 24 Analysis of Ne Form and Formless Supramundane Analysis of Mental Analysis of Analysis of Analysis of e Nirty-Seven Factors of Abhidharma in Daily

Chapter Thirty One

Philosophy & Psychology in the Abhidharma One of the functions of the Abhidharma is definition. Definition is important because, to successfully communicate about a rather technical subject, we must know precisely what our terms mean. us I would like to look at a number of terms used frequently and popularly in speaking about Buddhist thought. I would like to arrive at an understanding of the definitions of these terms and then relate them to the nature of the teachings of the Buddha....

Psychology Physiology and Qosmology

In the Vajrayana tradition, psychology, physiology, and cosmology are closely interrelated. In this chapter I would like to show how this is the case, and also sketch in general terms the benefits of this interrelationship. Let us begin by referring once again to the idea of interdependence and interpenetration. Interdependence is synonymous with relativity, or emptiness, and it is one of the two pillars of the Vajrayana tradition. In this particular context, interdependence has a specific...

E Philosophy of

The Mind Only school and the Middle Way school are the philosophical backbone of the Mahayana tradition. ere are several names by which the Mind Only school is known, the three most popular being Chittamatra (school affirming Mind Only), Vijnanavada (school affirming consciousness), and Yogachara (school affirming the unity of meditation and action). Yogachara refers to the union of the practice of meditation (yoga) and conduct (achara). e Mind Only school arose as an independent and...

E ree Universal Qharatteriftics

The subject of this chapter is the three universal characteristics of existence. Nis is an important part of the teaching of the Buddha. Like the Four Noble Truths, karma, interdependent origination, and the five aggregates, the teaching of the three characteristics is part of what we might call the doctrinal contents of wisdom. In other words, when we talk about the knowledge and understanding that are implied by wisdom, we have this teaching also in mind. Before we examine the three...

Chapter Six JMental development

In this chapter we will look at the steps of the Noble Eightfold Path that fall into the group known as mental development. We have already noted the interdependent nature of the steps of the path, and in this context it is particularly important to understand the position of mental development. Placed as it is between good conduct and wisdom, mental development is relevant and important to both. You may ask why this should be so. Indeed, people sometimes think simply following the precepts of...

Introduion to the Abhidharma

In Chapters 3 through 41, I will discuss the philosophical and psychological aspects of Buddhism presented in the seven books of the Abhidharma Pitaka of the Pali canon. I will not look in great detail at the lists of factors, or dhar-mas, found in many competent books on the Abhidharma. Instead, my objectives here are three (1) to outline and describe the principal methods and characteristics of the Abhidharma, (2) to relate the Abhidharma to what we generally know about the teachings of the...

W

Chapter Thirty-Six Analysis of ( Mental tates In the Abhidharma, mental states are defined as 'those factors which are associated with consciousness, which arise and perish with consciousness, and which have the same object and bases as consciousness.' Nis immediately indicates the very close relationship between consciousness (chitta) and mental states (cheta-sika). One of the best analogies to describe their relationship is that of the framework of a building and the building materials, or a...

Chapter Twenty Seven e Preliminary Prattices

In Chapters 22 through 26, I tried to outline what we might call the universe of experience of the Vajrayana. at is why I began with a consideration of the cultural and intellectual climate in which the Vajrayana first appeared, and only then went on to consider its religious and philosophical background, methodology, myth and symbol, and psychology, physiology, and cosmology. In Chapters 27 through 29, I will look at the actual stages in the practice of the Vajrayana path. In general, there...

Chapter Nine

In this chapter, I will look at the effects of karma in the next life or, to put it another way, I will elaborate on the idea of rebirth. But before we begin to talk specifically about the Buddha's teaching on rebirth, we may do well to spend a little time on the concept of rebirth in general. Rebirth is a concept with which many people have difficulty. is has been especially true over the past century or so, when we have become increasingly conditioned to think in what are regarded as...

E four oble Truths

With this chapter, we enter the real heart of the teaching of the Buddha. e Four Noble Truths are one of the most fundamental of the schemes delineated by the Buddha. In many important particulars, they virtually coincide with the whole of the doctrine of Shakyamuni. e understanding of the Four Noble Truths is synonymous with the attainment of the goal of Buddhist practice. e Buddha himself indicated as much when he said that it is failure to comprehend the Four Noble Truths that has caused us...

Chapter Ten Interdependent Origination

In this chapter, I take up a very important topic in Buddhist studies the teaching of interdependent origination. I am aware of the fact that many people believe that interdependent origination is a very difficult subject, and I would not say that there is no truth in that belief. When Ananda once remarked that, despite its apparent difficulty, the teaching of interdependent origination is actually quite simple, the Buddha rebuked him, saying that in fact this teaching is very deep. e teaching...

Chapter Thirty Nine Analysis of Qonditionality

The analysis of relations, or conditionality, is as important as the analysis of consciousness and the other aspects of psycho-physical experience we have considered in the last few chapters. is analysis has often been neglected in studies of the Abhidharma, which is paradoxical if you remember that, of the seven books of the Abhidharma Pitaka, the Book of Causal Relations (Patthana), which deals with conditionality, is one of the largest. It is only by devoting sufficient attention to the...

E Vajrayana Initiation

Ith this chapter, we come to a rather important topic in any introduction to the Vajrayana path. Over the half century or so that Vajrayana has been known in the West and the world at large, it has been liable to a great deal of misinterpretation and misunderstanding. e element that has probably been the cause of the greatest misunderstanding is the institution of initiation. Many have objected to initiation being a component of a path in the Buddhist tradition. As mentioned in Chapter 27,...