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Thread: Who was Buddha's teacher?

  1. #1

    Who was Buddha's teacher?

    Alan Watts tells a story about himself during his lectures on eastern philosophy that goes something like this: He has a good friend who is a Zen master and his friend asks Alan Watts as to why not become his student? Alan Watts replies with 'who was Buddha's teacher?' The Zen master then gives Mr. Watts a strange look, smiles and gives him a clover leaf.

    I am not Alan Watts.

    I need to continue my daily Zazen and readings.
    Last edited by Jishin; 10-28-2012 at 08:34 PM.
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  2. #2
    I think that the point watts was trying to make was that he had to find out for himself the cause of suffering. Alama kalama and uddakka were two of buddhas teachers.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    I think that the point watts was trying to make was that he had to find out for himself the cause of suffering. Alama kalama and uddakka were two of buddhas teachers.
    Thanks for sharing the above. I will be on the look out for information on Alama Kalama and Uddakka during my studies.

    My take on it had been that Alan Watts felt that he knew enough on the subject and that by looking elsewhere outside of him for and answer, he would create duality, a split from knowledge in self to knowledge outside of self and thereby increase suffering. The 1 plus 1 = 2 versus the 1 plus 1 = 1.

    JC.
    Last edited by Jishin; 10-28-2012 at 10:43 PM.
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  4. #4
    Who was Buddha's teacher.

    The mountains, the rivers, the songs of the birds, the arguments of the people of the time. All point to this profound and sublime truth of our lives.

    Humbly,

    Seiryu
    Humbly,
    Seiryu

  5. #5
    What Rich and Seiryu write above are traditional responses. Alara Kalama and Uddaka (I believe more common spellings from Pali) were two meditation teachers who Buddha followed before he was Enlightened, practicing and mastering their ways of meditation before rejecting them and moving on. We don't have many details beyond that, although there were such meditations practiced in India at the time.

    the well-known account in the Ariyapariyesana Sutta of the Bodhisattva’s study under two meditation teachers: Alara Kalama, who reportedly taught him to attain ‘the sphere of nothingness’, and Uddaka Ramaputta, who guided him towards ‘the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception’.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....026.than.html
    http://www.westernbuddhistreview.com...editation.html

    In the Jataka Tales, traditional accounts of the Buddha's uncountable earlier lives, he learned lessons again and again as a Bodhisattva reborn in human and animal form. He had many many teachers along the way. Of course, these are just traditional folk stories, though highly valued by many Buddhists.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jataka_tales

    In the Mahayana legends (although often found in other Buddhist traditions too), there was a line of Buddhas of the past ... sometimes said to be six, but often hundreds of thousands or countless. Gautama Buddha ("our" Buddha ) was sometimes depicted as their student in past lives. For example, in an earlier incarnation, Gautama is said to have been a disciple of Dipankara Buddha.

    http://huntingtonarchive.osu.edu/stu...u5/DL0208m.htm

    I sometimes compare Gautama Buddha to the Henry Ford or Wright Brothers of Buddhism. Although those folks "invented" the internal combustion engine or airplane, they actually can be said to have stood on the shoulders of all the discoveries and attempts that came before them, those who raised them or surrounded them in their lives, and the teachings of the road and air itself. (As with Henry Ford or the Wright Brothers' first models, Buddhism has also evolved and developed ... improved in many ways too ... from the founder's original invention, even though still based on the same wheels or wings).

    One final note is that, in the Traditional Bloodline Chart folks receive during Jukai (Undertaking the Precepts) and Monk Ordination, the "Bloodline" of Ancestors runs from Gautama Buddha to you ... and then back into Emptiness, then back to Gautama (aka Shakyamuni) again ... a great circle ...

    Here is an example from a Zen Sangha in Texas ...

    http://liberatedlifeproject.com/wp-c...neage-crop.jpg

    I like what Seiryu wrote ...

    Who was Buddha's teacher.

    The mountains, the rivers, the songs of the birds, the arguments of the people of the time. All point to this profound and sublime truth of our lives.


    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - Be a little careful with the musings of Alan Watts. More about him here.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post59850
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-29-2012 at 03:05 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Jundo, Rich and Seiryu:

    Thank you for educating me.

    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  7. #7
    Junior Member George's Avatar
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    I am fairly new to this Sangha so my view may or may not be in line with what others here think.

    If we take "teacher" in the more passive sense a "one from whom we learn" rather than a purely active role e.g. "one who professes to teach" then we surely are taught by everyone and everything around us and therefore our teachers are all people and all things.
    We can learn as much from "bad" examples as "good" ones and we can learn much from those who do not claim to be Buddhists as there is no real seperation between Buddhism and life.

    I would therefore suggest that perhaps Buddha had countless teachers of whom we know so few but certainly include the old man, the sick man, and even the bird and the worm.

    I am quite ready to be taught that I am wrong though

  8. #8
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    I like your take on it, George.
    迎 Geika

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    ... we surely are taught by everyone and everything around us and therefore our teachers are all people and all things.
    We can learn as much from "bad" examples as "good" ones and we can learn much from those who do not claim to be Buddhists as there is no real seperation between Buddhism and life.

    I would therefore suggest that perhaps Buddha had countless teachers of whom we know so few but certainly include the old man, the sick man, and even the bird and the worm.
    Yes, that rings true in my heart.

    Thank you for your Teaching, George.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Welcome George _/\_, just sit; you seem to have a good start
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  11. #11
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    So True, George



    Lisa

  12. #12
    Alan Watts was not the Buddha.

    Personally, I have never been a fan of Alan Watts. His writing always seemed to me to be a bit to trendy. Like he was taking the beat/hippy philosophy of his generation and then couching it in the new-found Zen trends. I think he probably read Suzuki and became an instant expert, in a time when no one really knew anything about Zen, or Buddhism, so he came across as wiser then he was. Just a personal opinion.
    Neika / Ian Adams

    寧 Nei - Peaceful/Courteous
    火 Ka - Fire

    Look for Buddha outside your own mind, and Buddha becomes the devil. --Dogen

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