Five Path Model question

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John W, modified 12 Months ago.

Five Path Model question

Posts: 408 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Hello friends,

From MCTB:
"While I am on the subject of the Tibetan Models, I will present the Tibetan Five Path Model. In this model, the details of which can be found in various places, such as Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche’s book Dharma Paths (published by Snow Lion). As that book does such a good job of explaining the dogma and is not expensive, I will give only a brief treatment of that model here.

First Path covers the territory from just beginning through the Arising and Passing Away, and is called the Path of Accumulation. In the territory of First Path, one accumulates direct insight into the true nature of sensations by direct investigation of impermanence and the selfless nature of phenomena, as one does in the first four ñanas.

Second Path, that of Unification, encompasses the territory from the Arising and Passing Away, through the Dark Night, to High Equanimity and the first taste of Stream Entry. These are perfect correlations also, and thus have already been described. Third Path is the Path of Seeing, and encompasses Stream Entry, and then begins the Fourth Path, that of Meditation, which encompasses the rest of the Ten Bhumis. Third Path is described as a plane taking off, and Fourth Path as it flying higher and higher. Fifth Path is that of Buddhahood. As you can see, the Five Path Model does not really add anything to the other models, but knowing it will help you understand the correlations between the terminology when you are trying to cross over between the writings and oral teachings of various traditions. Back to the generic models…"


Can anyone elaborate on this correlation?

Here is my basic understanding of the Tibetan path model:
Substituting the terms 'Calm abiding' with samatha and 'Superior seeing' with vipassana as they are cognates.

1st Path: path of accumulation, beginning with Bodhichitta motivation.
  This involves training in samatha and typically calls for a mastery of samatha to advance to the next path.  At some point through the power of concentration during samatha the Bodhisattva will have a glimpse of emptiness, this event is referred to as "superior seeing" or 'vipassana'.

2nd path: starts with the initial glimpse of emptiness - in my readings this is referred to as the Path of Preparation (maybe it is the path of Unification elsewhere?).  This stage involves meditating on emptiness with the union of samatha and vipassana leading to a direct realization of emptiness.

3rd path: Path of Seeing. Beginning with the initial direct realization of emptiness from above and, from my understanding, just further develops the previous fruition of insight into emptiness into a more encompassing, more direct realization.

4th path: path of meditation. Next stop enlightenment.

So - Daniel says Stream Entry would take place somewhere within the 3rd path, but presumably before a full realization of emptiness which would be the end of 3rd path?
But, after 2nd path, so after an initial realization of emptiness?

But yeah, it seems like each of the fruitions in the Tibetan model is basically the same object (emptiness), just a clearer and more complete understanding each time.  At first a glimpse, then a direct realization, then direct realization emcompassing all things, etc etc.
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Ni Nurta, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Five Path Model question

Posts: 690 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
This five path model is not so much Tibetan invention but taken straight from Mahayana.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bh%C5%ABmi_(Buddhism)#Five_Paths

One thing to note about these models: It is model for Bodhisattva and you need to take vows for liberate all sentient beings and commit to them. The awakening of Bodhicitta mind must happen first and this is the first path. It is quite memorable event, at least as much as 8th Bhumi / 5 path which is the actualization of the very "idea" that was conveived during Bodhicitta awakening.

Or to say it differently: You can have all your fruitions and even non-dual perception but without Bodhisattva vow you are not on this five path model at all. Hence distinction between path of small vehicle (Hinayana) and path of great vehicle (Mahayana).
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Noah D, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Five Path Model question

Posts: 1147 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
Here's a nice summary - https://studybuddhism.com/en/advanced-studies/lam-rim/the-five-paths/the-five-paths-to-liberation-enlightenment#summary-of-the-five-paths


3
rd Mahayana path is equivalent to 1st Theravada path.  4th is equivalent to 2nd & 3rd Theravada paths.  5th is equivalent to 4th Theravada path.  But as the other poster said, at the beginning of the Mahayana path one places compassion as first & foremost, rather than as one of the Brahma Viharas.  This develops Bodhicitta.  Also at the end of the Mahayana path one eliminates the obstacles to omniscience & negative emotions, rather than just negative emotions. 
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Ni Nurta, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Five Path Model question

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Noah D:
Very nice even. Thanks emoticon

path one eliminates the obstacles to omniscience might sound quite cheesy but this description is actually pretty accurate given how these things play out in the end. Of course these obstacles that hide reality from you which are then removed are the very same illusions that make you think that you are somehow being invisible to the rest of reality when hiding behind them.
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Noah D, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Five Path Model question

Posts: 1147 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
Ni Nurta:
path one eliminates the obstacles to omniscience might sound quite cheesy but this description is actually pretty accurate given how these things play out in the end. Of course these obstacles that hide reality from you which are then removed are the very same illusions that make you think that you are somehow being invisible to the rest of reality when hiding behind them.

I think it is worth honoring the literal claims made by these traditions within their own cultural, historical & religious context.  So regardless of 'cheesiness', in Mahayana Buddhadharma it is literally considered the case that a Buddha has a sort of 'omnicompetence' for helping others (that's a more precise term than omniscience).  Whatever they turn their mind to they are able to understand the particulars of, regardless of time & space.

Then from there, taking a more pragmatic & immediate perspective in which omniscience seems like a myth or reinterpreting it as more of a metaphor for a lesser attainment can be skillful.  
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John W, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Five Path Model question

Posts: 408 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Thank you both very much! That is a great summary, especially the infographic towards the end, and certainly helps to clarify some of my questions.

I am familiar with Bodhichitta and the lamrim as taught by the Tsongkhapa tradition, in fact I consider myself a practitioner, though I'm not sure if I've gone through any 'rites' from a traditional sense, or even what that would entail.  I think I have had some experience of lovingkindness, Bodhichitta, nondual perception and union of the truths, though I don't think I've experienced what you would call 'unlabored' or 'spontaneous' Bodhichitta so that would place me most likely on the 1st path.

As for the uniqueness of Bodhichitta to the Mahayana paths, and how that is different from any other Metta concept, and furthermore how one could possibly achieve the attainments of 2nd path or higher on the so-called Lesser Path, without realization of no-self and therefore holding an intention that is outside of/greater than, one's own "personal" liberation from suffering... is probaly a different topic for a different day emoticon
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Ni Nurta, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Five Path Model question

Posts: 690 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
John W:
As for the uniqueness of Bodhichitta to the Mahayana paths, and how that is different from any other Metta concept, and furthermore how one could possibly achieve the attainments of 2nd path or higher on the so-called Lesser Path, without realization of no-self and therefore holding an intention that is outside of/greater than, one's own "personal" liberation from suffering... is probaly a different topic for a different day emoticon

If you imagine you are a on a giant ball but somehow its surface is your your normal three dimensional reality then looking outside would be seeing what is outside your reality. It is Nibbana. With Nibbana you do neither see any content of reality nor have any connection to it.

Then looking inside at the side of the center would make you see everything including singularity at the center and parts of outside shining through everything you see. You could then see and shine light at any part of this hyper surface and show them they can also look in different directions than the three known to them.

There is thus "liberation" that you can realize for yourself in Hinayana that is different from Mahayana point which is "liberation of others" yet technically somewhat similar in how it is actually "done".

Hope this clarify the difference emoticon
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John W, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Five Path Model question

Posts: 408 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
I think I see what you are saying... to be honest I tried visualizing what you are saying and it was a bit confusing. I would think the ultimate liberation of cessation is going to be universal to whichever valid path you take.

The point I was trying to make was, according to the teachings, the way to release yourself from samsara is to understand the emptiness of all phenomena including the self.  This teaching is consistent throughout most Buddhist traditions that I have studied at least, though certain terminology may be different so please forgive my paraphrasing. 

Therefore, if someone is on the Hinayana path, in order to reach fruition, they must have realized the truth of No Self.  At this point I would logically deduce, through the principles of dependent arising and/or other means, that if the practitioner truly does not believe that they themselves exist, then through an equaniminous mind they would not regard themselves as any different from any other living being, therefore their motivation of permanent liberation from suffering from themselves would logically be extended to all living beings as there would be no difference between themselves and other living beings.

To put it another way, somewhere along the Hinayana path, one realizes they do not inherently exist.  How can one who believes they inherently do not exist, (that their body, speech, and mind are not other than emptiness, and this emptiness is not different than the emptiness of all 'external' phenomena) NOT have developed a motivation that extends to all living beings?
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John W, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Five Path Model question

Posts: 408 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
John W:
To put it another way, somewhere along the Hinayana path, one realizes they do not inherently exist.  How can one who believes they inherently do not exist, (that their body, speech, and mind are not other than emptiness, and this emptiness is not different than the emptiness of all 'external' phenomena) NOT have developed a motivation that extends to all living beings?
I did a little bit of research into old threads which took me to the Lotus Sutra.

Relevant, I think:

"There is no other vehicle; there is only the one Buddha vehicle"

“Up to now I have never told you that you were certain to attain the Buddha way. The reason I never preached in that manner was that the time to preach so had not yet come. But now is the very time when I must decisively preach the Great Vehicle. "

"In the Buddha lands of the ten directions there is only the Law of the one vehicle, there are not two, there are not three, except when the Buddha preaches so as an expedient means, merely employing provisional names and terms in order to conduct and guide living beings and preach to them the Buddha wisdom.  
The Buddhas appear in the world solely for this one reason, which is true; the other two are not the truth. Never do they use a lesser vehicle to save living beings and ferry them across.”

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Ni Nurta, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Five Path Model question

Posts: 690 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
John W:
I think I see what you are saying... to be honest I tried visualizing what you are saying and it was a bit confusing. I would think the ultimate liberation of cessation is going to be universal to whichever valid path you take.

I would abstain from words such as cessation here because by itself it has different meaning. Cessation itself can be caused by ANY disturbance to mind caused by any experience of ongoing experience which by mechanism of breaking feedback loop causes brain to reset itself, usually to use different parts of itself. It is this reset and more precisely using new fresh non-tired part of brain and rest that previously used parts experience that constitute most to after glow that is being experienced. Both cessation can be learned how to do and these things that happen because of cessation/fruition can be too eg. switching parts of brain that are currently used to backups as some form of wear leveraging. Most suffering is after all caused by abusing parts of brain while at the same time not using other parts which want to play too.

Here Nibbana like I mentioned before is direction opposite to experience of all experiences at all times which I some times call Varjra Samadhi. Experiencing Nibbana is much easier. The reason being the fact that by looking at universe the universe looks back at you. I am very literal here.

The point I was trying to make was, according to the teachings, the way to release yourself from samsara is to understand the emptiness of all phenomena including the self.  This teaching is consistent throughout most Buddhist traditions that I have studied at least, though certain terminology may be different so please forgive my paraphrasing. 

I do not subscribe to this whole line of thinking.
Someone said something to someone which for this person at this time was beneficial. Then people came, overheard this and misunderstood all of what was said and why. They also ignored the rest because they could not understand this one. This is the state of Dharma at The Dharma Ending Age.

Or to quote someone smarter than me about how schools operate:
I’ll tell you how I feel about school, Jerry: It’s a waste of time. Bunch of people runnin’ around bumpin’ into each other, got a guy up front says “2 + 2,” and the people in the back say, “4.” Then the bell rings and they give you a carton of milk and a piece of paper that says you can go take a dump or somethin.

Still I do consider myself Buddhist. I just drop intermediate steps invented as way to lead people to destination. It is better to go straight to the point.

Therefore, if someone is on the Hinayana path, in order to reach fruition, they must have realized the truth of No Self.  At this point I would logically deduce, through the principles of dependent arising and/or other means, that if the practitioner truly does not believe that they themselves exist, then through an equaniminous mind they would not regard themselves as any different from any other living being, therefore their motivation of permanent liberation from suffering from themselves would logically be extended to all living beings as there would be no difference between themselves and other living beings.

Fruition in this sense is like I said disturbance. It itself usually lead to strong enough shock to break illusion of self because it is hard to keep it when one moment you use one parts of the brain and the next completely different set and it never really was used to construct full convincing sense of self. But this whole ordeal of self and no-self is just confusion caused by ignorance and dwelling in how no-self states make you feel it will cause further disturbances. That is why incorporating sense of self back in to experience fixes whole issue with constant cycling and fruitions. It can of course be incorporated more skillfully than it was before and improving things is the whole point of practice.

To put it another way, somewhere along the Hinayana path, one realizes they do not inherently exist.  How can one who believes they inherently do not exist, (that their body, speech, and mind are not other than emptiness, and this emptiness is not different than the emptiness of all 'external' phenomena) NOT have developed a motivation that extends to all living beings?

Somehow I do exist... hello =)

You can develop high amount of empathy and desire to help other beings and do a lot of work to help other beings and still miss mark on how to become real deal Bodhisattva.

How is that?
Looking at the universe, which is what Bodhisattvas usually do, will immediately provide feedback from the universe. It is fine for Bodhisattvas because they already are aligned and even if not quite then they have faith it is right thing to do. At the same time for normal people it might be just to much to take. Like you do not go on gazing at sun you definitively do not go gazing at universe which is even brighter.

Nibbana you can always look at. It is that cool ~_^
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John W, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Five Path Model question

Posts: 408 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Ni,
I appreciate your detailed response and I am right to be called out on my naíve oversimplification of vast and complex, truly indescribable concepts such as the union of the two truths.

Thank you for using this naiveté as an opportunity for clarification and further explanation. I found your answers very humbling and thought provoking. 

I also fear that I did not make my intention clear enough with this post.  It is not meant to say that any tradition is lacking, nor is it to say that all traditions are the same.  Each is unique in presentation and given perfectly in accordance with the needs of that particular time and place (the "omnicompetence" mentioned previously).  And before I get myself into any more trouble, just re-quoting the Lotus Sutra:


"There is no other vehicle; there is only the one Buddha vehicle"