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

Steven Lane steven505 at earthlink.net
Fri May 20 12:48:33 MDT 2005

Couple of questions on this. According to formal Buddhist doctrine can
Pratyeka-buddhas arise when a Buddha exists in that particular eon. Wouldn't
Hui-Neng have believed in them since he specifically states that a teacher
is not required. And according to my favorite school (T'ien T'ai) the Buddha
transmission lineage was broken to be reestablished by T'ien T'ai patriarchs
(Tian Tai if you prefer) wouldn't the T'ien T'ai either implicitly or
explicitly accept Pratyeka-buddhas, or phased differently the
self-enlightenment is totally possible. I believe they say Hui-wen awakened
spontaneously by himself.


-----Original Message-----
From: buddha-l-bounces at mailman.swcp.com
[mailto:buddha-l-bounces at mailman.swcp.com] On Behalf Of Erik Hoogcarspel
Sent: Friday, May 20, 2005 2:27 PM
To: Buddhist discussion forum
Subject: Re: [Buddha-l] Re: Nirvana si, bodhi no!

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
>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
>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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