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Why Did Buddha Become a Teacher?

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Thinker13
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Posted 01/05/12 - 11:59 PM:
Subject: Why Did Buddha Become a Teacher?
For those of us who have ever contemplated about nature of Enlightenment, Moksha, Nirvana, Liberation or Mukti; and those of us who have not but would like to: I have, what I think is an interesting question.

It's true that until you're a Buddha, an enlightened one or an Illuminated one, you cannot know how it feels to be like Buddha( I know that words used here are a bit slippery because Buddha does not actually feel the way we do), still, I have had this question for enough long now.


Remove from the equation the concept of Bodhisattva: An almost enlightened being who stays on material plane because of immense compassion for those who are not yet liberated and need help and perhaps do not know that they need help.


Remove religion surrounding an enlightened being. Take a pure enlightened Buddha, whose enlightenment is still fresh ( paradoxically enlightenment never becomes 'old', it's always fresh).


Now, by very definition of enlightenment, it's total absence of ego and desires. There is no urge or ego left, not even the one which wants to do 'good' for everyone. [ yes, 'good' ego creates chains of good karma, which might be called chains of silver as compared to the chains of iron or bronze, i. e. 'bad' karma; still, all karma binds]


In such a case, why would a Monk who has gotten enlightenment would decide to teach the world about Truth?

Why would he not carry on his life anonymously?


More than that: Will he not be aware of cycles of the creation and destruction and hence aware of the inevitability of enlightenment of each and every being?

Will he not be aware of non importance of 'time' at an absolute scale of things, and hence would not advocate accelerating enlightenment?

In that case, he should not address and public saying "I am the Guru, I am the messiah; come to me and get enlightened; do not delay, it's urgent".


What am I missing?




henry quirk
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Posted 01/06/12 - 9:36 AM:

"Why would he not carry on his life anonymously?"

Cause one can't rake in bucks and babes as some anonymous schmuck... wink

Thinker13
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Posted 01/06/12 - 9:40 AM:

henry quirk wrote:
"Why would he not carry on his life anonymously?"

Cause one can't rake in bucks and babes as some anonymous schmuck... wink




laughing

Here we assumed that we are talking about a 'Buddha' who is truly enlightened. In case of your ( very acceptable) proposition, only logical conclusion would be: There has never been, there would never be a Buddha; i. e. a man who has get rid of desires and attained full enlightenment!
Thinker13
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Posted 01/06/12 - 9:42 AM:

Moreover, at least what has been *authentically* recorded of Buddha's life, he did not allow women in the Sangha for enough long and he was a mendicant, had no luxuries except attention of masses. He voluntarily gave up the kingdom of which he was the only heir...so there...
henry quirk
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Posted 01/06/12 - 9:50 AM:

"(The) only logical conclusion would be: There has never been, there would never be a Buddha; i. e. a man who has get rid of desires and attained full enlightenment!"

Yep, that's my thought.

Insofar as I can tell: every 'enlightened' one is just a nutjob in need of anti-psychotic medicine.

As for 'authentic' records of any one's life: take all biographies and (especially) autobiographies with not grains, but BOULDERS of salt... wink
Thinker13
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Posted 01/06/12 - 9:57 AM:

henry quirk wrote:
"(The) only logical conclusion would be: There has never been, there would never be a Buddha; i. e. a man who has get rid of desires and attained full enlightenment!"

Yep, that's my thought.

Insofar as I can tell: every 'enlightened' one is just a nutjob in need of anti-psychotic medicine.

As for 'authentic' records of any one's life: take all biographies and (especially) autobiographies with not grains, but BOULDERS of salt... wink




My personal experience has shown it to be quite similar to what you state; more so as I have grown up. There is no logical refutation possible to your statements as far as my opinion is concerned, however, I would love to see another angle, from someone who thinks that there is a possibility of such persons.
thedoc
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Posted 01/07/12 - 1:03 AM:

First of all why do you think the Buddha became a teacher, perhaps he was a teacher who just found his subject?

Some time ago I read that all are enlightened but just don't know it, so I decided that if I was already enlightened I would just skip all the hard work and play with my grandchildren.

One thing to remember when reading or studying religion/mythology you must not dwell on the denotation, in fact you should ignore it altogether and focus on the conotation. Religion and Mythology are not factual histories but are stories that tell a truth that is not in the details but in the story itself.

There may have been a Bodhisattva as a real person, but that is not important, what is important is the teaching that has come to us and it must be read for it's conotation
Thinker13
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Posted 01/07/12 - 1:45 AM:

thedoc wrote:
First of all why do you think the Buddha became a teacher, perhaps he was a teacher who just found his subject?


No, thedoc, he was a very sensitive prince and he got fed-up with all the sorrows and pains, so, he was not a teacher. smiling face



Some time ago I read that all are enlightened but just don't know it, so I decided that if I was already enlightened I would just skip all the hard work and play with my grandchildren.



That is as best as it goes. nod



One thing to remember when reading or studying religion/mythology you must not dwell on the denotation, in fact you should ignore it altogether and focus on the conotation. Religion and Mythology are not factual histories but are stories that tell a truth that is not in the details but in the story itself.


Point taken. But still, my question remains as valid as it was. There have been very recent claimants of complete enlightenment and yet they became teacher: They should not have chosen to become teachers.



There may have been a Bodhisattva as a real person, but that is not important, what is important is the teaching that has come to us and it must be read for it's conotation



That is all fine and good. My question is: If enlightenment is considered to be 'totally getting rid of desires'; the persons who attained enlightenment should not have chosen the way they chose.[I mean, I cannot know unless I am fully enlightened, but, why should a person who has no desires choose to teach or choose to improve others?]


libertygrl
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Posted 01/07/12 - 11:28 AM:

my understanding of buddhism is that you are still acting in a sense of flow. the idea of getting rid of desires and "attachment", as i understand it, is not so much that you never do anything at all. after all, it can be said that we have the desire to eat and sleep as well, right? but rather, per the buddhist teaching, that we should not let our desires be the source of our suffering. in other words, teach if you want to teach, play cricket if you want to play cricket, be a farmer if that's what you want, etc. be present and act on the moment, rather than punishing yourself psychologically for not getting what you want.

my understanding of the buddha himself, is that he wanted to help others not to suffer anymore, and felt that he had found the path to doing so, and wanted to share it with others out of compassion. i don't believe his doing so goes against his own teaching. i believe compassion is one of buddhism's primary tenets.

...

just did some googling and found this one person's response:

"The second noble truth is that suffering is caused by desire, but the word translated as "desire" is actually tanha in Pali and means "craving." In other words it is not just any desire that creates suffering and keeps us suffering, it is an irrational thoughtless and selfish craving. There is another word for desire, chanda, that is ethically neutral. This type of desire can lead to wholesome or unwholesome goals. When it becomes the intention to overcome selfishness (and eventually awakening to the selflessness of phenomena) then it is the kind of desire that leads to nirvana."
Thinker13
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Posted 01/07/12 - 12:28 PM:

libertygrl wrote:
my understanding of buddhism is that you are still acting in a sense of flow. the idea of getting rid of desires and "attachment", as i understand it, is not so much that you never do anything at all. after all, it can be said that we have the desire to eat and sleep as well, right? but rather, per the buddhist teaching, that we should not let our desires be the source of our suffering.


The 'craving' as you write later in your post binds. My question is: If there is no craving left, no ego for the betterment of society or an individual is totally indifferent towards pain and pleasure and his actions emanate spontaneously, why would he choose to become a teacher. You may say, his circumstances might have governed him for a particular course of actions owing to which he ended up being a great teacher but all of the actions were spontaneous; still, why he started preaching in the first place instead of spending his time in his infinite beatitude and bliss?


in other words, teach if you want to teach, play cricket if you want to play cricket, be a farmer if that's what you want, etc. be present and act on the moment, rather than punishing yourself psychologically for not getting what you want.[/quote]



my understanding of the buddha himself, is that he wanted to help others not to suffer anymore, and felt that he had found the path to doing so, and wanted to share it with others out of compassion. i don't believe his doing so goes against his own teaching. i believe compassion is one of buddhism's primary tenets.


I agree that his quest for Truth or for liberation from suffering started with the urge to end suffering, but, at the moment he became enlightened, it ended his cravings for once and for all. He saw suffering but saw the cause of suffering as well ( which he was not able to see earlier)---then, he should not have been driven by any 'urges', anymore. Compassion, indeed is Buddhism's primary tenet, but I do not think that Buddhism truly reflects everything Buddha was [ This does not mean that Buddha was not compassionate] : I mean much has been lost as centuries have passed by. My understanding of Karma or Buddha suggests me that an enlightened being has no urge to help: Help might come from him spontaneously but it is never with a trace of intention vector, else, it becomes a golden chain---it would make him incarnate again and get the fruits of good Karma. An enlighten being witnesses totality of his intention vectors and his Karma is burnt every moment and hence there is a walking emptiness. In such a being, I do not see any possibility of an urge to help mankind or doing good. Everything is good.

Zen seems to incline towards more of what I am telling here. Some people think that Zen imitates Buddha more than Buddhism does. In any case, I am discussing based on my understanding of Buddha and Karma.






...

just did some googling and found this one person's response:

"The second noble truth is that suffering is caused by desire, but the word translated as "desire" is actually tanha in Pali and means "craving." In other words it is not just any desire that creates suffering and keeps us suffering, it is an irrational thoughtless and selfish craving. There is another word for desire, chanda, that is ethically neutral. This type of desire can lead to wholesome or unwholesome goals. When it becomes the intention to overcome selfishness (and eventually awakening to the selflessness of phenomena) then it is the kind of desire that leads to nirvana."



Yes, this desire leads to Nirvana, but until one has fully blossoming Buddha nature, one has a desire, even if it's of achieving Buddhahood. If one is enlightened, there is nothing good or bad, cold or hot, painful or pleasure giving.
libertygrl
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Posted 01/07/12 - 1:21 PM:

i think the idea is that his teaching was neither a craving (tanha) nor at odds with his bliss. teaching was rather a desire (chanda) that being able to fulfill it probably gave him great satisfaction.
Thinker13
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Posted 01/07/12 - 1:57 PM:

libertygrl wrote:
i think the idea is that his teaching was neither a craving (tanha) nor at odds with his bliss. teaching was rather a desire (chanda) that being able to fulfill it probably gave him great satisfaction.



If he wanted a bit more satisfaction, even after getting enlightened, then, he was not enlightened by very definition of it.
thedoc
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Posted 01/07/12 - 7:48 PM:

Thinker13 wrote:

No, thedoc, he was a very sensitive prince and he got fed-up with all the sorrows and pains, so, he was not a teacher. smiling face



I can see how you are thinking of this and I need to disagree. Theaching is indeed something you go to school and learn how to do, but it is also a mindset and attitude that is in the person from the start. Some people are teachers that only need to discover this talent and ability and develope the knowledge of how to teach and what to teach. There are teachers who are not naturally teachers and these are the ones who are not effective and do not have good results with their students. So I would still say he was a teacher, but just needed to discover this for himself and what it was that he needed to teach others, he needed to discover the subject that he was to teach. There is more to being a teacher than training and subject matter, there is the attitude of the person that is more important and is not something that is applied from the outside, its in you or it is not
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Posted 01/07/12 - 7:51 PM:

Thinker13 wrote:



If he wanted a bit more satisfaction, even after getting enlightened, then, he was not enlightened by very definition of it.



Perhaps compassion is a better word than satisfaction, and that is in the definition of enlightenment, you may want to review what you think you know about enlightenment, especially if you are not yourself.
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Posted 01/08/12 - 2:05 AM:

thedoc wrote:



I can see how you are thinking of this and I need to disagree. Theaching is indeed something you go to school and learn how to do, but it is also a mindset and attitude that is in the person from the start. Some people are teachers that only need to discover this talent and ability and develope the knowledge of how to teach and what to teach. There are teachers who are not naturally teachers and these are the ones who are not effective and do not have good results with their students. So I would still say he was a teacher, but just needed to discover this for himself and what it was that he needed to teach others, he needed to discover the subject that he was to teach. There is more to being a teacher than training and subject matter, there is the attitude of the person that is more important and is not something that is applied from the outside, its in you or it is not




Now, I see your point that he had more potential in him of a teacher than others had. But, still, what was the 'need' of teaching if he got liberated, and was beyond all 'cravings' and 'urges', whether good or bad?

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Posted 01/08/12 - 2:10 AM:

thedoc wrote:



Perhaps compassion is a better word than satisfaction, and that is in the definition of enlightenment, you may want to review what you think you know about enlightenment, especially if you are not yourself.



If you replace 'satisfaction' with 'compassion' in my previous sentence, what you're left with is:

He needed a bit more of compassion and that's why he became a teacher.


This does not seem to be true. Does it?


A Buddha is full of compassion. Compassion flows out of him like fragrance flows out of flowers; i. e. naturally. It does not mean that he does anything on intention to increase compassion.


I definitely would love to review what I know of enlightenment and I am not a 'know-all' of it but I would love to discuss first. smiling face


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Posted 01/08/12 - 12:44 PM:

Let me start with one point and I'll try to add more later, today is our family christmas party and its starting to get noisy.

It is my understanding that an Enlightened person would indeed loose all desire but this desire needs to be examined more closely. So let me start by qualifying it as all desire that is based on the ego of that person. Ego is the other word that needs to be examined in reference to enlightenment, as there are many possible connotations and if we are each refering to a different one, we could be arguing at cross purposses. We need to be very careful and precise how we phrase what we are trying to say.
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Posted 01/08/12 - 12:53 PM:

thedoc wrote:
Let me start with one point and I'll try to add more later, today is our family christmas party and its starting to get noisy.

It is my understanding that an Enlightened person would indeed loose all desire but this desire needs to be examined more closely. So let me start by qualifying it as all desire that is based on the ego of that person. Ego is the other word that needs to be examined in reference to enlightenment, as there are many possible connotations and if we are each refering to a different one, we could be arguing at cross purposses. We need to be very careful and precise how we phrase what we are trying to say.



That would be great!
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Posted 01/09/12 - 9:13 AM:

Thinker13 wrote:

If you replace 'satisfaction' with 'compassion' in my previous sentence, what you're left with is:

He needed a bit more of compassion and that's why he became a teacher.

This does not seem to be true. Does it?



This illustrates the need to be very careful and precise in what we say. My intention was not to just replace the single word but to replace the concept. So instead of the phrase "needed a bit more of satisfaction" the whole phrase should be changed to "felt compassion for others" which would seem to be more true.
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Posted 01/09/12 - 9:42 AM:

In order to avoid a long drawn out discussion on semantics lets agree to a few definitions for the purposes of this dialogue. I would sugest that 'desire' be limited to that derived from ego, so desire is for those things that satisify a personal want beyond a need. Let us say that 'Need' would be for the things that keep the body alive and healthy, air, food and water, and clothing in many climates and societies. The first problem I can see arising is that in some cases there can be some overlap of a need and a desire. A simple illustration, in colder climates clothing is a need for protection from the weather. In some places a simple cloth is not enough, so in many cultures the fabric is embroidered. This makes the fabric thicker and better protection against the cold, and as can be seen in much of the traditional clothing of cultures in the Northern latitudes, the colors are bright and the patterns are elaborate. In this case the need is for embriodered fabric but the desire could be for that to be very colorful with complex patterns. As to the question of an Enlightened one the need would be for warm clothing, Embroidered, but if the clothing is being provided by others desire may not enter into the choice. It would be a case of desire if it was requested that the pattern be complex and colorful, or that it be plane, there would be no desire if whatever was produced was accepted with gratitude and no special requests.

I would be interested in hearing other examples to illustrate this especially in regards to food, and if someone could clarify the concept of 'ego'.

If someone wishes to discuse alternate meanings of these terms, please start another thread, but don't expect much from me, as
- "I refuse to discuse semantics because most people just don't understand." -
Thinker13
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Posted 01/09/12 - 12:31 PM:

thedoc wrote:



This illustrates the need to be very careful and precise in what we say. My intention was not to just replace the single word but to replace the concept. So instead of the phrase "needed a bit more of satisfaction" the whole phrase should be changed to "felt compassion for others" which would seem to be more true.



I got your point now.

So, your proposition is: Buddha became a teacher because after enlightenment he felt immensely compassionate?

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Posted 01/09/12 - 12:44 PM:

thedoc wrote:
In order to avoid a long drawn out discussion on semantics lets agree to a few definitions for the purposes of this dialogue. I would sugest that 'desire' be limited to that derived from ego, so desire is for those things that satisify a personal want beyond a need. Let us say that 'Need' would be for the things that keep the body alive and healthy, air, food and water, and clothing in many climates and societies. The first problem I can see arising is that in some cases there can be some overlap of a need and a desire. A simple illustration, in colder climates clothing is a need for protection from the weather. In some places a simple cloth is not enough, so in many cultures the fabric is embroidered. This makes the fabric thicker and better protection against the cold, and as can be seen in much of the traditional clothing of cultures in the Northern latitudes, the colors are bright and the patterns are elaborate. In this case the need is for embriodered fabric but the desire could be for that to be very colorful with complex patterns. As to the question of an Enlightened one the need would be for warm clothing, Embroidered, but if the clothing is being provided by others desire may not enter into the choice. It would be a case of desire if it was requested that the pattern be complex and colorful, or that it be plane, there would be no desire if whatever was produced was accepted with gratitude and no special requests.

I would be interested in hearing other examples to illustrate this especially in regards to food, and if someone could clarify the concept of 'ego'.

If someone wishes to discuse alternate meanings of these terms, please start another thread, but don't expect much from me, as
- "I refuse to discuse semantics because most people just don't understand." -



I really appreciate your approach ( hopefully without appearing 'Patronizing' smiling face ) towards discussion.


I think, I agree with almost all of your description of desire/need.

However, I have a definition of 'Ego' and 'Karma', which needs to be taken into the account before proceeding further.

The need of addressing what 'Ego' is, has already been mentioned by you. The requirement of addressing Karma cannot be overlooked as far as I am concerned.

Paradoxically, Buddha did not ever discuss about God and even openly denied existence of any God, still, he used theory of Karma and reincarnation for explaining the suffering and Truth.

We would also closely and carefully deal with the nature of compassion.


Please let me know, if you mind my using 'Reincarnation' and 'Karma' for this discussion.


My theory about an enlightened being would be made clear by this discussion and if it seems to digress much from Buddhism, you might consider that it's so because of variety of influences on my thinking. Accepting or denying my views is pretty much a matter of how coherent they seem, still, I claim in no way that my theory about Enlightened being, in any way belongs to anyone school of thought.


Thinker13
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Posted 01/09/12 - 1:11 PM:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ego_(spirituality)is a good article to begin with but has mostly views by Eckhart Tolle and Hinduism.

Ego is nothing but thought in my opinion. The thought emanates from self and the thought is 'me', then 'mine' comes. Self is the giver of sense 'I AM' and it's something which is static and never changes.


Ego is cause of separation because, the thoughts are petty and so the estimation of the 'self' is petty, tiny isolated being, which is between myriads of such other isolated beings.


The awakened or enlightened one has a self which is essentially everything and everyone together at the root and hence there are no divisions and separations and no craving to become something else.


Rituals and much of social structure are based on ego. Take for example: Humbleness is mostly cultivated. Parents inculcate in the children a habit of saying 'hello', 'bye', 'good morning' and other such things. This humility is not like fragrance of flower which is for one and all without discrimination. Politicians during their campaigns before elections(especially here, in India) visit poor villages and stay with destitute people in their huts and talk in a very polite tone. This humility is merely a pretense and a gimmick to get votes.


Cultivated humility like many other such traits which are hidden well inside the umbrella of mannerism are ego driven. A person who looks most humble might be most egoistic person pretending to be humble just because he wants people to respect him and his rage and vicious nature become apparent as soon as he gets frustrated by the public.

But our society functions in this way: That is, most of us are very well acquainted with these ego driven mannerisms and it takes infinitesimal sliver of humanity, very acutely conscious who abhor this cultivated mannerism--but on the other hand do not get upset when met with lack of respect and so on.

Take another example: A very popular charitable person spends millions of dollars on charity. He thinks that he is a very good man. He is very eminent and respected by Church as well. He is indeed helping a lot of people. But if he is driven by "I would go to heaven because I am helping the poor" or "See, I am the most eminent man in the world"; his humility is merely a pretense and what he is doing is---creating the bondage of ego which makes him carry this baggage of 'doer-ship' and due to this baggage he attracts circumstances where he has to face disgrace or humiliation and ultimately the shattering of ego.





Edited by Thinker13 on 01/09/12 - 1:44 PM
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