[Buddha-l] Re: Nirvana si, bodhi no!

Richard Nance richard.nance at gmail.com
Wed May 18 10:59:24 MDT 2005

On 5/18/05, curt <curt at cola.iges.org> wrote:

> This is a bit of a tangent, but here goes. First lets agree (1) that the
> Buddha
> was awake (I'll use awake instead of enlightened because I'm sick and
> tired of all that damned giggling) and (2) that several of his students also
> became awake because of his teaching - and (3) that their awakening was of
> the same nature as the Buddha's. If those three conditions hold, then we
> have
> an exponential growth function on our hands.
> If the Buddha's students had the same kind of awakening as the Buddha - ie,
> one that enabled the awakened one to teach others and cause them to awaken,
> then we should all be awakened by now! And I am not talking "original
> enlightenment" here - I'm talking anuttara samyak samfreakingbodhi.

I don't see why this conclusion follows from the premises you've
adduced. If a person has been brought to awakening and has also
(perhaps thereby) been equipped with the capacity to bring others to
awakening, this doesn't entail that others will, on listening to
his/her teaching, inevitably be brought to awakening. Buddhas are
typically portrayed not as *compelling* the awakening of others, but
as *inviting* others to engage in particular practices. These
practices, it is claimed, will, if followed assiduously, one day lead
one to the attainment of awakening. But practice of the Buddhist path
takes significant time, commitment, and effort, and people are often
distracted and lazy. Some aren't, of course, but many are -- and
there's no obvious reason to assume that the number of lazy people
will decrease with each passing generation.

Best wishes,

R. Nance

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