Difference between the practice of Mahayana and the brahmavihārā

The greater the joy the greater the sacrifice required to attain it I believe.

Creative. Thank you.

So, we all agree we don’t find any difference between in the practice of brahmavihārā mentioned in SN42.8 and the Bodhisattva vow which has something like Sentient beings, limitless in number, I vow to save them all.?

The difference is not before reaching the brahma realm but maybe is after the practitioner reached the brahma realm as @Saurabh bringing up?

We know that brahmavihārā is not exclusive to Buddhism, can I say there is also no difference in practice between other religions outside Buddhism who practice “spreading love/compassion/joy/equanimity to all”? The difference is after those practitioners reached the Brahma realm: they will continue separately and differently, depends on their original goal.

I see @Green gave approval to @Saurabh 's idea so I guess Green’s opinion is the same, he can voice out correction now. I also said above that “From what I look, those 2 practices come from the heart.” so I don’t see either any difference in practice before reaching the brahma realm.

Anyone else wants to give their input?

The start to end exact way that leads one there is I believe exclusive to Buddhism sir. All the steps are given in Buddhism only. Other teaching may have bits here n there but exact way is exclusively given by buddha only. But I also agree on one thing that, any person belonging to any religion can attain them…provided that he/she is following steps.

Yes I believe this is possibility. Even in Brahma realms it is possible to attain stream-entry. It is mentioned in some sutta I don’t remember where. Disciple of Buddha can get extinguished there without returning from there…unlike run of the mill person who falls in lower realms afterwards.

In above example I gave…I see it as. It’s one thing to attain car but (as everything is impermanent) maintaining car and driving it the way it’s supposed to be driven (in the way that increases merit and reduces harm) is another thing. So yes it depends on everyone’s personal goal and all.

Maybe i see more clear now what is on your mind. Sorry that i am slow.

The wish to reach enlightment to safe all beings from suffering, is called bodhicitta. It is not the same as practicing Brahmavihara’s, i believe. Because it is more about ones motivation.

Bodhicitta is seen by many mahayana teachers as the wish fulfulling jewel. It is such a pure wish from a pure heart. It also does not get lost. I do not know exactly the conditions for this but i read something like this in a book about Atisha.

About motivation: For example: you might be worried about having tendencies of cruelty and hate, worried about rebirth in lower realms or you might notice the burden of having a hateful and cruel mind. You might want an antidote. You can practice compassion and loving kindness.
But in this case it is not because you are concerned with others welbeing. It is all about you.

I believe this not evil but i am quit sure that it will have other effects/results if one would practice loving kindness or compassion because one does not want to harm others. For example because one has deep regret one has harmed a being, was cruel etc. I think you can immediately recognise that this is more sensitive.

The Brahmaviharas and Bodhicitta, Bodhisattva Vows, and in Theravada the wish for complete extinguishment all come from a heart of Compassion, intertwined, as a Jewel of the Dhamma, among the Sangha, Taught and passed down in Metta by the Buddha.

Mahayana describes people for who the suffering of other beings is part of there own mindstream. They cannot have peace of heart while others suffer.

Bodhicitta is the wish that one will reach enlightment or buddha-hood for the sake of others. Not really for ones own sake. This is regarded as the highest motivation.

Bodhicitta is described as having to aspect: bodhicitta of aspiration and bodhicitta of action.

Part of bodhicitta of aspiration are brahma vihara’s. One must want to free all beings from suffering. Also not only beings one likes. It is wrong to give up a being. One must always be willing to become more skillfull to help someone. One must never think…this being is so deluded i cannot help. One must develop the same compassionate and loving attitude towards all beings, so also the agressive ones, the rich, the poor, the healthy, sick etc. One must develop love too, meaning, wishing that all are well. One must always act like one is the same as the other person and able to be empathic. Like Jesus, always regard the other being as a fellow creature. Do never become estranged from others beings pains, suffering, disorders, weakenesses etc.
One must also not be afraid to suffer. This is not a path for those who do not want to feel any burden, any difficulty, discomfort, but ofcourse one is also not a martyr.

There are all kinds of methods to develop bodhicitta of aspiration but the basics are that one does want reach enlightment and develop spritual qualities that will help others.

Bodhicitta of action means that one trains in the paramita’s of giving, ethical conduct, enthousiastic effort, concentration, patience, wisdom.

Bodhictta is the whole Path in mahayana buddhism. Bodhicitta is regarded as leading to buddha-hood, in relative short time.

Bodhicitta is especially an expression of the pure heart that one wants to attain buddha-hood for others sake. Not to get extinguished quickly and feel no suffering anymore. It is not that this motivation is not part of ones development but it is not seen as some kind of end goal.
Also mahayana students must have a great feeling for the danger of samsara, have a great feeling for death, etc etc. Be very aware that life is short and precious. This is all the same. This is also not something that may be forgotten. One must train in this too.

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So, after 1 day, we seem all settled on

Now let’s look at these 5 kinds of practitioner below:

  • The ones outside Buddhism: destination is Brahma realm, stuck there for long time, next destination is undetermined. Continue to teach others their own previous religion and their students too can not reach any higher place than Brahma realm.

  • The ones follow EBT: destination is Brahma realm. Continue to follow EBT and can go higher than Brahma realm until parinibbāna. Can remind others of EBT and help them too to reach higher place than Brahma realm until parinibbāna.

  • The ones merely “Bodhisattva wanna be”, practice correctly: destination is Brahma realm, stuck there for long time, next destination is undetermined. Continue to follow Mahayana, can only teach other people about Mahayana (a future Buddha can’t receive teaching from Brahma or anyone else to reach enlightenment) and their students too can not reach any higher place than Brahma realm. So, almost indistinguishable from religions outside Buddhism, effectively becomes obstructive to the spreading of EBT.

  • The ones “irreversible Bodhisattva”: destination is by choice, can be even animal realm or hell realm, not losing track of becoming next n-th Buddha (but can’t go to Pure Abodes reserved for Non-Returner). Because destination is by choice, most likely won’t go to Brahma realm too often because too long time to be stuck there.

  • The ones merely “Bodhisattva wanna be”, practice wrongly, not yet in the status of irreversible but mistakenly thought so, actively spreading that belief to other people to do the same: destination is very likely lower realm such as animal realm and hell realm. Even daily-usage human language also will be lost so virtually-zero chance of remembering goal of becoming next n-th Buddha.

Although it all started with “spreading mettā, karuṇā, muditā, upekkhā to all beings”, I must say the differences in the after are strikingly huge and terrified too. With an incomplete teaching for the how, there is almost zero chance to stumble on being an irreversible Bodhisattva, no matter how much we can imagine or hope for the “deathless compassion”. No matter how brave you are, unless you are an irreversible Bodhisattva, it’s an undeniable fact that rebirth karma is a gamble where the loss is huge and the chance is slim.

Try to listen to this Metta chanting, can anyone deny that such practice is “not from the true heart”? However, maybe it’s a good idea to also think a little bit about the 5 different scenarios that all came from “true heart” as I have already presented above.

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There is overlap in because metta, karuna, mudita, and upekkha are common concepts for all Buddhist paths that I know of. You may be thinking of the vow to save all beings - this is inspired by the conception of the Buddha’s great kindness and compassion, not the four brahmavihara practice. But the four brahmaviharas are in Mahayana texts because they became a popular meditation method in Buddhism in general.

I agree here. I believe this is what explains how Jesus/Muhammad paigambar created new religions. (Just my opinion, also not the topic of discussion).

I also agree here.

100% agreed. I must say your analysis is spot on sir!

Only here I choose to differ a slight. I believe Bodhisattva is not born there but he can visit there without taking birth there as an anagami would do. I mean he does not visit there as if its easy and piece of cake, he arrives there after struggling and walking every other path. That being said…there is no proof and the “how?” still remains unanswered. I’ll accept and leave it at that.

Agreed 100%.

Yes sir exactly I also believe same. Now I think we are almost on the same page.

My personal opinion is that only EBT and/or Theravada is where we can be 100% sure about where we will land. It is the safest.
And I see everything rest is just like ‘try and see for oneself’.

One more thing…those who want to be Bodhisattva, they want to be like the Lord Buddha. Lord buddha is also arhat as we say, “Bhagavato arahato Sammasambuddhassa”. Also, the disciples of Buddha, the monks also working to achieve that. So in other words they also want to become like the lord buddha…I mean it’s not explicit but it is implicit. They just want to reach the same destination by directly following him. I believe destination is same it’s just the way you arrive there differs. Some arrive there by foot, some by bike, some by car, some flying and some in aeroplane taking billions of others with them.

Based on this I think lord buddha is Bhagavato(Blessed one=one with highest merit/unlimited merit & fortune) first then arahato(we roughly know the meaning). So I believe there is no difference at all. Goal is arhatship only. Difference is in only how you arrive there. I don’t think there is any difference between The other shore reached by buddha and that of arhat. So we need to accept that we don’t have answer to this “how?” and what we may have is only belief…atleast for now.

Practicing Brahma vihara’s is not some seperate practice in mahayana. Developing empathy for all beings, compassion, love, impartiality towards all beings, never alienate etc. is just part of bodhicitta, the Noble Path.

There is no aim to be reborn in Brahma realms. Also in EBT this is not seen as the real goal of Dhamma. The perspective of higher rebirth and its happiness is also a kind of entrapment of Mara.

The goal of EBTs and mahayana is both not rebirth, but doing only good, abandoning bad unskillful qualities and purify the mind. The motivation differs and also the techniques.

For myself i have seen that the message of the Buddha is: have utmost trust in your own purity and goodness and that of other beings. This purity of heart is never absent. But it becomes disturbed by arising adventitious defilements. The anusaya’s are triggered and empty their colouring info in the mind. This info starts to govern how one thinks, speaks, acts and understands oneself, others and situations. This is called delusional, wrong view and understanding and a wrong Path. Understanding can be coloured with dislike, like, notions of me, my self, mine.

So, the aim is to remove those defilements and their causes. Then one can be a vessel of purity and goodness. A Buddha. Then the distorting floods are gone and one can have a pure presence.

I feel, wisdom is the experiential confirmation that beings are just only caught up in what is not theirs, in what is adventitious. It is like we do not see the jewel of our pure heart and are obsessed by what is not ours and theirs.

It is not easy to have so much faith in the purity and goodness of your own heart and that of other beings. It is like all forces in the world come together to make you feel bad about yourself and others, negative, low. You always have to proof that you are a good person by doing good deeds, working hard, patriotism, improving your habits, even taking care of others. Often, i think, it is instigated by low self-esteem, negative thinking about oneself, negative judgements. Doing good to proove one is good.
Even religion can feed this samsaric cycle. A Buddha is like someone who does never doubt that you are pure and good. Not as some dream or to comfort you, but because it is so.

It seems that in many of your previous discussions with other people, you almost always get the denial of the so-called “deathless compassion” idea or straightaway denial of the existence of such thing as “deathless compassion”. That explains why you keep describing your own feeling and perception about this “deathless compassion”. You might see this as a form of enlightenment or something extraordinary but other very likely sees it as a form of “clinging”.

However, so far, I didn’t question or deny or approval of the existence of such “deathless compassion”. This is different from all of your previous discussions with other people so you need to be aware of that.

Now back to the main points, I already presented 5 scenarios in my previous post. Which category do you think you belong to?

You can’t belong to the EBT category, because you keep describing your own feeling and own perception about “deathless compassion” or “the duty to save everyone” or “never doubt that you are pure and good”.

You can’t belong to the irreversible Bodhisattva category, because you don’t know about “the how” for the situation between future lives. You also can’t let other beings suffer when you know “the how” but don’t teach. If I am wrong here, and you really are an irreversible Bodhisattva, you need to voice out correction immediately and stop other beings suffer due to your silence.

So my guess is, you either belong to the Bodhisattva wanna be that practice correctly category, or practice wrongly category, or simply outside Buddhism make-up-your-own religion. In all of these 3 remaining cases, the end result is the same: seems to be so sure about “pure heart” but doubt and unsure for future lives. I simply don’t understand how you even dare to claim that you don’t care that the path is unsure. All I can ever comment is: your display of bravery is at high level.

I think I have already said enough in this thread so I will conclude here with this remark, anyone else please feel free to continue though:

The teaching of the EBT is the dhamma wheel turned by the Buddha, it can not be stopped by anyone in the world. So while the EBT is still available to us, no other path, even the path of irreversible Bodhisattva, can stop it. Also, an irreversible Bodhisattva will never obstruct the EBT of the previous Buddha because he knows that he himself will teach the same EBT when he becomes the next n-th Buddha. Furthermore, majority of people will likely be attracted to the irreversible Bodhisattva path than EBT, so an irreversible Bodhisattva path can not appear to obstruct while EBT is still here.

If anyone is attracted to the path of irreversible Bodhisattva, then there is no other choice than to wait until the EBT becomes unknown to the world. Good luck to the long waiting and also good luck on stumbling by slim chance on that irreversible Bodhisattva path. Be aware that true path is rare but fake paths are just plenty.

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We’re all on the same side here. The Path is kindness, and I don’t see anyone here being mean.

Buddhi in Sanskrit means intelligence. And what is real intelligence? It is Love. We are measured by our Love, that is how one day all Beings will become Buddhas. Until then, let’s be friends just as we should be then.

Yes, thanks. I believe, no know, there is a difference between qualities and behaviour that arise as a part of your personal inclinations or those that are based upon the uninclined . For example, when i was a child, teachers wrote that i was very helpful towards other children. This was part of my early inclinations. It was not based upon the uninclined. It was a strong habit. Later in my years i had to learn that this habit is not perse wise.

I see this message in EBTs. For example, the Path of merit is still based upon defilements. One must learn to distinguish nice inclinations and real goodness/purity that is not part of habits and is not an inclination.

Dhamma is not about becoming a good machine, right?

I also have a habit or inclination to take care of beings, especially vulnerable beings. Also this is not real goodness and purity nor love. It is more an inclination. It is appreciated in the world, it is a nice quality but i have recognised this for myself as not the same as purity and goodness. It has nothing to do with Nobility.

Purity and goodness is beyond merit and demerit. It is beyond ones personal inclinations and habits. That is how i feel this. I also see this message in the EBTs.

I am not brave at all and not noble but i have trust/faith in the uninclined. This has been a very diffucult undertaking for me. But for me this feels safe.

One can only practice in a way that one becomes less and less governed by habits and inclinations.
One day one feels that even doing habitually good things is not self. It is not really from the heart too.
It is not pure and Noble. And if one sees closely, often it is not to the point too. At least i have seen this.

I am just sharing this as one person to the other.

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