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

Erik Hoogcarspel jehms at xs4all.nl
Fri May 20 12:27:19 MDT 2005

Dan Lusthaus schreef:

>The Buddha/arhat distinction was not the only one in play from early on. An
>even more interesting one -- one which had very promising potential but
>atrophied -- is that between Buddha and Pratyeka-buddhas. These are, by
>definition, Buddhas who were never Buddhists and had never heard of
>Buddhism. Arhats were -- as one of the passages Bruce cited stated -- 
>dependent on Buddha and his teaching for their magga and subsequent
>awakening. Pratyeka-buddhas, like Siddhattha Gotama, figured everything out
>by themselves. So awakening does not belong to Buddhism, does not even have
>Buddhism and Buddhist practice as a prerequisite. It is simply a matter of
>figuring out causes and conditions (pratyaya) by oneself (eka). Had
>Buddhists developed this notion, a recognition of the legitimacy of
>non-Buddhist insight could have mitigated the hard line between Buddhists
>and non-Buddhists (tirthikas).
>The shortcoming of a Pratyeka-buddha, some of the early texts declare, is
>that by not following the well-cut and pedagogically rich path paved by the
>Buddha, their awakening (they are Buddhas, Awakened Ones, of a sort after
>all), their achievement arose through sporadic and eclectic means, and they
>will have forgotten how they got there, making them ineffective as teachers.
>One who achieves awakening within the Buddhist folds has the pedagogical
>richness of the tradition to draw on when teaching others. So Buddha's
>uniqueness is that he was a pratyeka-buddha who was ALSO an effective
>teacher. He is differentiated from them by his pedagogical prowess.
>As we can see, the early Buddhists had some difficulty coping with the
>Pratyeka-buddha concept as well as the status of arhats. Neeldess to say,
>later Buddhas retained the term "pratyeka-buddha" in a formulaic fashion
>without really trying to identify any such actual person anywhere (there are
>a few stories about purportedly actual pratyeka-buddhas, but very few, and
>they play minor didactic roles in mainstream Buddhism at best -- most
>Buddhists probably have never heard of them, and give the idea of
>Pratyeka-buddhas very little attention aside from its necessary appearance
>in the standard litanies and lists in which it conventionally occurs).
May I remind you that Naagaarjuna refers to the pratyekabuddha in chapter 18 verse 12 of his kaarikaah in a positive way: 'when buddhas don't arise  and arhants disappear, knowledge comes through pratyekabuddhas', which could mean that he considered himself to be one. Appearantly the concept of pratyekabuddha was more positive in his time then lateron. 


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