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

curt curt at cola.iges.org
Wed May 18 12:08:03 MDT 2005

Richard Nance wrote:

>On 5/18/05, curt <curt at cola.iges.org> wrote:
>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.
OK - let's take into account individual variability in the "potential" 
for awakening.
However, this is not a show-stopper. That's because the Dharma does not only
benefit those who are "ripe for the picking" - it also benefits those of 
potential - at least in part by increasing their potential - so that 
with time, not
only do those with sufficient potential attain awakening, but an ever 
number of people will work their way up to the point where they are "ready".

This will make the model more complicated. But generally speaking the model
will do one of two things - blow up or fizzle out.

Mathematics aside - this all goes to the point of what is a Buddha good 
for? It is
my understanding that even the earliest texts state that a Buddha's job 
is to help
others attain awakening - not simply to "be awake" for the sake of just 
awake. In other words, it is assumed that the awakening will "spread". 
This all
follows from equating the Buddha's awakening with that of his students 
Unless we assume that it stops there - but why assume that?

- Curt

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