Mahayana mysteries and Gautama or Mahavir
I was very harsh on the Mahayana tradition of boddhissatwas, and a more positive history might be in order: this phase of buddhism has a great history, and tremendous accomplishments, but its obscurities make it hard to understand. Outsiders approaching buddhism should be wary of the arm twisting of beginners to make the great vow of the
boddhissatwas at the start. Beginners should not take that vow. It is part of the problem of Tibetan buddhism: it is a small army of frustrated followers who can’t develop. That kind of Mahayana needs to be thrown out. It creates a following of frozen followers, and creepy hybrids like Chogyam Trungpa, whose psychological state as a buddhist is hopelessly confusing. It is an unhealthy form of religion. There is a hidden esoterism of unknown psychic and consciousness states as a substitute, in the propaganda of the top dogs in the lineage, and these become the refuge of despair, but the result is not enlightenment.
I don’t exactly know, but the path of Mahayana was born in the mind of Gautama very early as he saw the dilemma of lineages dying out so soon after the death of the buddha. Somehow, at some unknown point, on the basis of enlightenment already established, Gautama delayed the full completion of enlightenment beyond the physical body and the result is the remarkable second wind of the movement, at around the time of the onset of Xtianity, no coincidence, and the spread of buddhism into a vast expansion as a world religion. This was a first in the legacy of ‘buddha movements’ such as the preceding Jain lineage completed in Mahavir. There the age period prior to buddhism shew twenty four teertankers, at the rate of about one per century. With Gautama a new experiment began and the result was the source ‘ashram’ or sangha turned persistent over that subsequent age period to our era of modernity, but therefore with one buddha at the helm throughout, just as in Xtianity with the two millennia of domination by a single disembodied figure, Jesus Christ. There is a problem here. The Jain approach brings a fresh buddha to proximate generations, while that of buddhism is in danger of a persistent ossification at the hands of adherents who have never met or interacted with a living sage and will never do so, until we guess the next age period. It the sangha had astral records these returning figures could establish a foothold. But the reality for the large majority is to be subject to the lottery of rebirth, and the chances of making contact again with buddhism are not good. That must be the reason for the desperate focus on a few famous figures, whose reincarnations can be manipulated, or at least guessed at. As to buddhas, it is all a memory, and those memories become rancid, as the method is parodied in the instant ritual of turning converts into pillars of stone, boddhissatwas, apparently til the end of time when everyone else is enlightened. Note that the dynamics there is nonsense, hence the great vow is nonsense, so perhaps dispense with it. One should be careful here. Who the blazes knows what the real Mahayana really was. That’s a problem with buddhism, and xtianity: we have lost the facts that are crucial to understanding, and the wrapper of myth confuses the issue. It is, for example, important for meditators to have some sense of reality, using concrete concepts, as meditations induce the chaos and possible ruin of what must be what Gautama called his battle with the demon Mara. What was the factual basis of that myth? The followers of later times hardly know, but all at once they encounter something like it, very real, very deadly, and very unassisted by the mythical tradition, and mostly such a being is simply lost to the sangha because noone is there to help. The battle with Mara is gloriously told in the tale of Gautama triumphant, but the other nine out of ten go mad and are lost. This must be what happened to Chogyam Trungpa, a sort of spastic prisoner of a captive will enslaved to some demon, or his own unconscious. That’s the point: what does the demon ‘Mara’ refer to. No good using Freud to answer an old hallucination. It needs a modern buddha to clarify the issue or dismiss it. Rajneesh never bothered to mention the subject.
In this context the way of the Jains might have been better. The baton is passed more often, and the memories are more consistent, while with buddhism you have downtown strolling dudes who haven’t a clue about the ancient insights, even where put in writing.
What this means in the case of Tibetan buddhism, I don’t know, but Nota Bene, the old age period has already passed and the new era is well underway. What happens then is already happening but we may not know it until it has itself become historical.
Now it may be that this history is wrong, that dozens of buddhas arose in the wake of Guatama. In the Zen world the point seems clear, but with Tibetan buddhism, apparently, the frozen lineage is there throughout. One way or another the argument above, which might need revision, shows that approaching buddhism is a gamble with 1. bad histories, esoteric mystifications, fake vows of Boddhissatwas, lost disciples next to celebrities insiders, and for all the talk of savior religions, a probable majority failure, soul wreckage and ruin for a majority who are simply discarded and forgotten.
That is likely the fate of the troopers of Tibetan buddhism. The next era is not going to tolerate the obscure politics of ancient Tibet to dominate the already confusing enough path to enlightenment. The literature of buddhism by the way is hopelessly confusing and doesn’t clearly show the way to anything beyond the prima donna front stage acts of a few celebrities. Gautama is beginning to fade away into obscurity, as with the barely remembered Mahavir. Meanwhile the raving lunatics who lost their battles with the demon Mara are forgotten, or else turned into demons themselves. One must suspect buddhism produced far more demons that buddhas.