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Thread: Bhakti in Buddhism?

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    Bhakti in Buddhism?

    Namaskar,

    I am not too familiar with Buddhism and I was just curious to know if there is any form of bhakti within any of the Buddhist traditions?

    Pranam

    LightofOm
    ॐ मृत्युंजयाय रुद्राय नीलकण्ठाय शम्भवे l
    अमृतेशाय शर्वाय महादेवाय ते नम: ll

    Sanātana Dharma Worldwide

  2. #2

    Re: Bhakti in Buddhism?

    Namaste LightofOm,

    It depends on how Bhakti is defined and the stages of Bhakti, ultimately Bhakti is totally supra-mundane not dependent on conditional concept, its more than a feeling of sentiment.

    I think to approach this we need to look at a subdivision of the word Bhakti like devotion, are there devotional practices in Buddhism. If you go to any temple they will bow down, offer gifts light incense and other forms that have devotional sentiments.

    Devotion can be known also as dedication, all paths have to have a strong sense of dedication. What are some of the characteristics of that dedication.

    From the pali tradition of Thervada where one takes refuge in the 3 jewels of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha devotion is emphasized.


    VandAmi buddham aham Adarena tam- Devotedly indeed that Buddha I revere

    VandAmi dhammam aham Adarena tam-Devotedly indeed that Dhamma I revere

    VandAmi Sangham aham Adarena tam-Devotedly indeed that Sangham I revere

    Buddhavarakantavaratadigunabhiyutto,
    In the Buddha are joined such excellent virtues as Araham,
    Suddhabhinanakarunahi samagatatto,
    Supreme knowledge and compassion harmoniously joined in Him.
    Bodhesi yo sujanatam kamalam va suro,
    He, like the sun blossoms lotused, awakens wise people,
    Vandamaham tamaranam sirasajinendam,
    I revere with my head the Conqueror Supreme,
    Buddho yo sabbapaninam saranam khemamuttamam,
    That Peaceful One. The Buddha who for beings al is the highest Refuge most secure.
    Pathamanussatithanam vandami tam sirenaham,
    Recollecting firstly, this way, Him with my head do I revere,
    Buddassahasmi daso (dasi) va buddho me samikissaro,
    I am the Buddha’s servitor, The Buddha is my ruler great,
    Buddho dukkhassa ghata ca vidhata ca hitassa me,
    The Buddha is Dukkha’s destroyer and the provider of happiness for me,
    Buddhassaham niyyademi sariranjivitancidam,
    To the Buddha do I dedicate this bodily frame and life of mine,
    Vandantoham (tiham) carissami buddhasseva subodhitam,
    I shall are with reverence to the Buddha’s awakening excellence.
    Natthi me saranam annam buddho me saranam varam,
    For me there is no other refuge. The Buddha truly is my refuge.
    Etena saccavajjena vaddheyyam satthu sasane,
    By the speaking of this truth, may I grow in the Master’s way,
    Buddham me vandamanena (manaya) yam punnam pasutam idha,
    By my devotion to the Buddha, Whatever punya, is here produced,

    Sabbepi antaraya me mahesum tassa tejasa.
    By the power of that, for me may all dangers never occur.

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    Re: Bhakti in Buddhism?

    Thank you Markandeya-ji, that's exactly what I was looking for. Are there any other prayers or mantras that you could share? Or a website you know of that has more? Thanks again.

    Pranam

    LightofOm
    ॐ मृत्युंजयाय रुद्राय नीलकण्ठाय शम्भवे l
    अमृतेशाय शर्वाय महादेवाय ते नम: ll

    Sanātana Dharma Worldwide

  4. #4

    Re: Bhakti in Buddhism?

    Namaste LightofOm,

    Buddhism has many aspects, practices and emphasis. It will all depend on how one understands what is Bhakti, its purpose and benefit. Of all the things I dont wish to be so technical on within any of my study and practice that will only be Bhakti. If one knows what it is inherently or the symptoms and limbs that support it should be self evident, as Bhakti is grace herself.

    There are so many schools that incorporate devotional practices, Tibetan Buddhism is full of them, Pure Land Buddhism and as said above also some of the ways in which the Buddha is worshiped in temples by monks and the lay community can be seen as devotional.

    If interested it may be a good idea to see what devotion means in Buddhism, it certainly is not a anything to do with sentiment but again its not impersonal, nihilistic or cold.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nyanaponika/devotion.html


    Buddhism is very pragmatic in its approach and application, but we can look at similarities and also diverse expressions on how they inter link. This may need only to be looked at and understood by the individual, especially if its within a cross referencing study of one tradition to another.


    Can Buddhism support the realization of Bhakti, I am not sure, but I would say yes to a certain degree, Buddhism can give us a focus of what is preventing higher realizations and it has a huge body of knowledge to support this, plus a very precise way to understand and know important parts of psychology within the process of sadhana. More recently I am trying to understand what is Sunya according to Nagarjuna, for me in many ways this helps with my understanding the nature of my own consciousness and that of Krsna as having a body without any trace of material nature, pure and transcendental, its quite profound especially when sunya is seen not as a state but a characterization of Reality leading one into svabhava, own being, I would say that helps in the process of Bhakti


    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 15 August 2015 at 08:26 AM.

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    Re: Bhakti in Buddhism?

    Namaskaram Prabhu ji
    Quote Originally Posted by LightofOm View Post
    Namaskar,

    I am not too familiar with Buddhism and I was just curious to know if there is any form of bhakti within any of the Buddhist traditions?

    Pranam

    LightofOm
    Buddhism like Hinduism has many traditions within its folds and allthough on the whole the veiw of Buddhism in the west is very meditation orientated , you will find that there are some very different attitudes and practices particularly in the Countries where Buddhism originates , ....

    as to the question of Bhakti , ....yes certainly in many instances there is deep love and devotion towards Buddha , Dharma and towards the Deities in the Mahayana traditions .

    I studied and Practiced mahayana , Vajrayana Buddhism for over 15 years before descovering Sanatana Dharma , however it was only upon coming to Sanatana Daharma that I came across the constant reference to bhakti as a path , ....

    Personaly I would say that there is more to Buddhism than refuge , ....Refuge is the very begining of Buddhist practice where ones intention is to develop shraddha, ...when ones faith becomes firm one then develops deep gratitude and with this gratitude comes love , this love is more than devotion as one can be devoted to ones sadhana because one belives that through reverencial devotion that one will gain punya , this is the attitude of seeking ones own liberation , ...
    but in mahayana traditions the attitude can be completely selfless , once the practitioner has reached the stage of loving devotion he ceases to think of his own liberation and seeks liberation solely for the benifit of all beings , ....in this instance the practitioner realises the true nature of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and is overwhelmed by their loving kindness thus a reciprical love develops , ...

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    Re: Bhakti in Buddhism?

    Namaskaram Markandeya dass ji
    Quote Originally Posted by markandeya 108 dasa View Post
    Namaste LightofOm,

    Buddhism has many aspects, practices and emphasis. It will all depend on how one understands what is Bhakti, its purpose and benefit. Of all the things I dont wish to be so technical on within any of my study and practice that will only be Bhakti. If one knows what it is inherently or the symptoms and limbs that support it should be self evident, as Bhakti is grace herself.
    Jai Jai , very much so , ...in Vaisnavism Bhakti is practiced as a path , the purpouse being the development of spontanious Bhakti , ......thus I agree very much that Bhakti is Grace , ....

    There are so many schools that incorporate devotional practices, Tibetan Buddhism is full of them, Pure Land Buddhism and as said above also some of the ways in which the Buddha is worshiped in temples by monks and the lay community can be seen as devotional.

    If interested it may be a good idea to see what devotion means in Buddhism, it certainly is not a anything to do with sentiment but again its not impersonal, nihilistic or cold.
    from experience of being close to Tibetan comunities the belief in the Deities is something which goes very deep with in and could in no way beseen as Nihilistic or cold , ...even from spending time amongst Thai Theravadins the devotion is very warm and loving , ....

    some very nice points mentioned here ....

    although Buddhism may appear or be taken as pragmatic this is only one aspect of Buddism , ...I do not even think that a true impression of Buddhism can be made by study and cross referencing traditions , one still needs to go through the process of attending temples and receiving teachings , ...it is only through receiving oral transmition that one receives the Blessing to practice , this 'Grace ' canot be underestimated or egnored , ...


    ''Can Buddhism support the realization of Bhakti,''
    ? yes I belive so whether we call it Bhakti ir not is imeterial , ...it is prehaps not commonly found , but then even in Vaisnava schools spontanious occurances of Bhakti are comparitively rare compared to the aspiration to attain Bhakti , ....

    in Mahayana Buddhism there is an equal aspiration to attain Bodhichitta but expressions of true Bodhichitta are comparitively rare .
    I think that one attaining glimpses of true Bodhichitta canot help but see the presence of Bhakti within , ....

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    Re: Bhakti in Buddhism?

    Namaskar,

    Thank you for the great answers here. I really love Buddhist philosophy, especially that of the Theravada school, but I found some other parts of the tradition to be a bit dry. One of the things I love about SD is the grand celebrations and ecstatic bhajans. As far as I can see, Buddhism is missing this component. But maybe I haven't experienced it enough to really know yet. Anyway, I guess this is why I am so drawn to Adi Shankaracharya because he seemed to somewhat reconcile these two paths very nicely.

    Pranams,
    LightofOm
    ॐ मृत्युंजयाय रुद्राय नीलकण्ठाय शम्भवे l
    अमृतेशाय शर्वाय महादेवाय ते नम: ll

    Sanātana Dharma Worldwide

  8. #8

    Re: Bhakti in Buddhism?

    Namaste,

    The goal should be ultimate compassion and love based in knowledge, how could bhakti ignore this, even though we make no demands naiskama karma, of course the sages are more erudite more than we can ever imagine or reason. To keep inline with the post I will post something soon.

    Ratikala Ji, your comments are so on the point, and I can see that you work more from realization and heart rather than book knowledge and composite intellectual wrangling, this I admire far more than technical knowledge of shastra.

    While shastra is supreme intellectual understanding that surmounts in transcendental knowledge that transcends all cognized understanding and is above ordinary intellectual musing, we still take shastra as that which is beyond our ordinary perception of things.

    We are blessed, so much disinformation that relates only to senses, mind and intellect that the sages sages never revolved around. Keep the faith, sraddha, conviction, as this knowledge of veda supersedes anything we can improvise with a part of us that lacks sadhana but above all Bhakti, Bhakti is the essence and the goal and the supreme supra mundane reality, how can one not include Bhakti Bhajan adoration to that which is unbounded and free from constraints of material existence. If Bhakti fades then the heart HRIDAYA is dead and who wants that, were talking about the highest ecstasy which has nothing to do with jiva in a confused limited state.

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    Re: Bhakti in Buddhism?

    Namaskar,

    You are right on point Markandeya-ji. Bhakti in its truest, purest form (coming straight from the hridayam) is the Truth or Ultimate Reality. I have my moments where bhakti spills directly from my heart without any tinge of materiality, and in those moments I feel like I am touching God. However, most of the time I am very analytical and intellectual; this is just my nature. So, naturally I am going to look at the subject of bhakti from that perspective (albeit a more ignorant perspective). Also, in Sanatana Dharma there is this 'bhakti path' that is spoken of, and when it is defined as its own path it tends to turn into something that we start thinking about. Ratikala-ji spoke about this in one of the above posts, stating:

    "I studied and Practiced mahayana , Vajrayana Buddhism for over 15 years before descovering Sanatana Dharma , however it was only upon coming to Sanatana Daharma that I came across the constant reference to bhakti as a path , ...."

    But true bhakti is not something intellectual. It is not something that we can think about and analyze with our conditioned minds. Unfortunately, I have tried to do this (in fact, in this very thread I have done this by asking if bhakti exists in Buddhism) and of course I have failed to grasp it intellectually. But you have done a great job here of showing me that bhakti is indeed not something to get technical about. I thank you for that.

    I think from the outside looking in it may look like bhakti (at least in the form that I have understood it in) is absent in Buddhism. However, for one who practices Buddhadharma it is very much there...alive and well. It's just that it is not really spoken of like it is in Sanatana Dharma. It's not described as a 'path' or anything like that. Rather, it shows itself through the love and compassion, which is something that is definitely present in Buddhism. And of course this comes purely from the heart. I think I am beginning to understand now. It looks like bhakti is indeed present in both paths. Forgive me for being so technical about it.....time to go meditate and open up my heart again.....not my mind...

    Pranams

    LightofOm
    ॐ मृत्युंजयाय रुद्राय नीलकण्ठाय शम्भवे l
    अमृतेशाय शर्वाय महादेवाय ते नम: ll

    Sanātana Dharma Worldwide

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