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Friday Chat, The Twelve Deeds of a Buddha Friday @ 10pm Eastern

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  • rayh12@aol.com
    Buddhism Basics and Beyond Chat Fridays at 10pm Eastern The Twelve Deeds of a Buddha Join us in our peer led discussion, in the Buddhism, Basics and Beyond
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 11, 2009
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      Buddhism Basics and Beyond Chat
      Fridays at 10pm Eastern
      The Twelve Deeds of a Buddha
       

      Join us in our peer led discussion, in  the Buddhism, Basics and Beyond chat room,  Buddhism Basics and Beyond   (clickable link).  Our chat starts at 10pm Eastern. 
       
       
      Tonight, we will be talking about the 12 Twelve Deeds of a Buddha.  According to the text: "Each of the twelve deeds may represent a teaching from Lord Buddha to us, on how to conduct each stage of our own life, over the course of our life."  Come and join us in a detailed description of the Twelve Deeds and how we can use these teachings within our practice.  Thanks again to Robes for taking the time and effort to put together the text for tonight's chat.  Great work!!!  Follow is the text we will be using for the chat:
       
          "The Supreme Emanation Bodies (Nirmana-kaya) are those 
           appearing in the world by way of the twelve deeds [of the Buddha]."
       

      THE TWELVE DEEDS
       
      In The Everlasting Continuum (Skt. Uttaratantra), Maitreya lists an
      additional "preceeding" enlightened deed to the Twelve Deeds.
       
          * Taking birth in a Pure Land of Joy (that is, Tushita) as the divine
             youth named Shveta Ketu (White Banner). There he teaches the
             Dharma and, when he perceives directly that it would be of
             benefit for all living beings, hands his crown over to the keeping
             of the coming Buddha, Maitreya, prior to transferring to our
             realm, the Southern Island-Continent.
                If this is counted as the first of the twelve deeds, then entering
             his mother’s womb (II) and taking birth (III) are counted
             together as one deed.  Alternatively, there are considered to be
             thirteen enlightening deeds on the plane of sensory desires (desire
             realm), and the above twelve in the human realm.
       
          I.  His Promise to Descent from the Tushita (Blissful) Heaven to
              Take Birth in the Human Realm to Guide Sentient Beings from
              Ignorance to Enlightenment.at the most appropriate time
       
         II.  Entering the Womb of his mother, in the form of Queen Maya's
              Dream of an ash white elephant so as to be born in the most
              appropriate family for what will follow
       
        III.  The Birth of Buddha to be born miraculously, in Lumbini, and
               then taking seven steps in each of the six directions od Space
       
        IV.  Youthful Dedication to the Mastery of Learning and Athletics
               showing unique physical prowess and mental intelligence's skill
               in Arts & Crafts, such as writing, mathematics, archery etc.
       
         V.  The Skilful Conduct of Worldly Affairs, rejoicing in sports with
               other young men and enjoying the company of his consorts, and
               the finest pleasures that worldly life can offer
       
           *  The Four Encounters with old age, sickness, death and an
               ascetic. In this case, Defeating the Hosts of Mara (IX) and
               Attaining Enlightenment (X) are one deed.
       
        VI.  Renouncing the World, abandoning the princely life at the age
               of 29 to become a self-ordained monk
       
       VII.  Living the Life of a Recluse, enduring many ascetic hardships
               more radically than anyone ever did for six years by the river
               Nairanjana, and then renounce it for its inadequacy,
       
      VIII.  Entering the Path of Enlightenment by coming to the Vajrs-Seat
               by sitting beneath the bodhi tree at Bodhgaya, the place where
               all the buddhas of this world attained enlightenment
       
        IX.  Defeating a Host of Demons, the negative energies of the world
               that night
       
         X.  To show recognition of the Middle Way and attain
               Buddhahood at dawn
       
        XI.  Turning the Wheel of Dharma.to teach the universal truths at
               Sarnath, etc.
       
          *  The Descent from the Trayatrimsa Heaven, added by some lists.
       
       XII.  Passing into Parinirvana
       
      In other sources, a further enlightening deed is given as:
       
          *   Causing the sun of his hallowed Dharma teachings to set in this
               perishable-based world.
       

      Teachings of the Future Buddha:
      The Uttara Tantra of Maitreya
      The Asian Classics Institute
      http://www.aci-la.org/documents/Uttara_Tantra_Docs/HW%20&%20Q%2010%20-%20Answer%20Key.pdf
       
      How do those of the Smaller Way (Hinayana), the Greater Way (Mahayana), and the Secret Way (Vajrayana) describe the level the Buddha was on as he went through the twelve deeds.
       
      Technically speaking, the first two deeds of coming to our world from the Heaven of Bliss and entering his holy mother's womb are deeds done by the person who was to become Shakyamuni Buddha.
       
      According to “regular” position held by those of the Smaller Way and some of the Greater Way, the Buddha was a bodhisattva (and more specifically either a bodhisattva on the path of accumulation or else a tenth-level bodhisattva) during the first nine deeds, and a Buddha during the last three deeds.
       
      According to the “special position" — which is that of most texts of the Greater Way, the Buddha had long since become enlightened and only pretended to go through the twelve deeds for the benefit of disciples.
       
      According to the Secret Way, Lord Buddha appears in his enlightened enjoyment body (Sambhogakaya) as Vajradhara and various other forms located in the Akanishtha, the Heaven Below None — as well as in special realms around our world — to give the secret teachings.
       
      Each of the twelve deeds may represent a teaching from Lord Buddha to us, on how to conduct each stage of our own life, over the course of our life.
       
      Deciding to come to our world can represent the decision to get involved in helping others in an ultimate way, once we have seen their suffering. Entering the womb and taking a human birth represent the decision to take on a form that other people can relate to, in order to teach them. Mastering the worldly arts could represent our worldly careers, which we must sooner or later leave behind. The same with sensual pleasures, especially sex and a mundane married life. The spiritual hardships show us that enlightenment is won only with hard work and many pains, especially if we are not careful in the path we choose. Coming to sit at the Buddha tree is like that personal sense of responsibility for the enlightenment of all beings, and the decision to work to the death if necessary to achieve enlightenment. Defeating the demons is a statement upon who our real enemies are: our own mental afflictions; death itself; any state of mind or body short of an enlightened Emanation's; and anything that would hold us back from our task. Reaching the state of enlightenment is a statement to us that it is possible to be of ultimate benefit to all living beings. Teaching others the path is the highest form of help we can give to others; and the fact that even Lord Buddha passed from this world is a reminder of how fragile we ourselves are — and also a reminder that many of the things we see around us may not be at all what they seem to be.
       
       
      NOTE: The translation is based on my revision of three different translations.
       
       
       
      IN PRAISE OF THE TWELVE DEEDS OF THE BUDDHA
      Sanskrit: Dvâdashakâra-nâma-naya-stotra
      Tibetan: Dzad pa chu nyis kyi tzul la bstod pa
      This `Praise' is found in the Tibetan Tangyur, attributed to Nagarjuna;
      according to the Tohoku catalogue (#1135) it was translated into Tibetan
      by the Indian Tîlaka & Tibetan Patzab Nyima Grags in the 11th century.
       

          I.  His Promise to Descent from the Tushita (Blissful) Heaven to
              Take Birth in the Human Realm to Guide Sentient Beings from
              Ignorance to Enlightenment.at the most appropriate time
       
      1
      Homage to you, King of the Shâkyas,
      Who through skillful compassion took birth in the Shâkya clan,
      With a body as majestic as the golden Mount Meru,
      You subdued Mâra's forces, unconquered by others.
       
      2
      Homage to you, who first awakened the bodhi-intention,
      And then perfected the accumulations of merit and wisdom,
      In order to become in this age, the protector
      Of all beings through your vast activities.
       
       
       
         II.  Entering the Womb of his mother, in the form of Queen Maya's
              Dream of an ash white elephant so as to be born in the most
              appropriate family for what will follow
       
      3
      Homage to you, who as the regent of devas, you saw
      The time had come to tame humans, and the clan to be born in.
      Descending from the celestial realms in an elephant's form,
      You entered the womb of Queen Mayadevî.
       
       
       
        III.  The Birth of Buddha to be born miraculously, in Lumbini, and
               then taking seven steps in each of the six directions od Space
       
      4
      Homage to you, who ten months later, took birth in
      The auspicious Lumbini grove as a son of the Shâkyas.
      Brahma and Shakra (Indra) came to give homage, and
      Scholars proclaimed, with certainty, that you belong to
          the race of the great beings.
       
       
       
        IV.  Youthful Dedication to the Mastery of Learning and Athletics
               showing unique physical prowess and mental intelligence's skill
               in Arts & Crafts, such as writing, mathematics, archery etc.
       
      5
      Homage to you, as an incomparable youth,
      You showed your skill in Anga-Magadha,
      And a powerful lion among men,
      By defeating the vain pride of people.
       
       
       
         V.  The Skilful Conduct of Worldly Affairs, rejoicing in sports with
               other young men and enjoying the company of his consorts, and
               the finest pleasures that worldly life can offer
       
      6
      Homage to you, who through skillful means
      In accordance with the customs of the world,
      You supported the kingdom, took on a retinue of consorts,
      To help them to become free of the errors.
       
       
       
      VI.  Renouncing the World, abandoning the princely life at the age
             of 29 to become a self-ordained monk
       
      7
      Homage to you, seeing that the worldly tasks are unsubstantial,
      You resigned `the life' as a family head.
      And traveled through the immaculately pure sanctuaries,
      You ordained yourself in the training of renuciation.
       
       
       
       VII.  Living the Life of a Recluse, enduring many ascetic hardships
               more radically than anyone ever did for six years by the river
               Nairanjana, and then renounce it for its inadequacy,
       
      8
      Homage to you, resolved to reach enlightenment,
      You practiced austerities for six years on Nairañjana's banks.
      Diligently concentrated in perfect efforts,
      You reached the highest point of meditative training there.
       
       
       
      VIII.  Entering the Path of Enlightenment by coming to the Vajrs-Seat
               by sitting beneath the bodhi tree at Bodhgaya, the place where
               all the buddhas of this world attained enlightenment
       
        IX.  Defeating a Host of Demons, the negative energies of the world
               that night
       
         X.  To show recognition of the Middle Way and attain
               Buddhahood at dawn
       
      9
      Homage to you, who to make meaningful your efforts
         since beginningless time,
      You sat in the unshakeable posture
      At the foot of the Bodhi tree in Magadha,.
      And completely awakened to the Perfect Enlightenment.
       
       
       
        XI.  Turning the Wheel of Dharma.to teach the universal truths at
               Sarnath, etc.
       
      10
      Homage to you, who swiftly esteem beings with compassion,
      And, at Varanasi and other sacred places,
      You turned the Wheel of the Dharma
      To help established disciples in the three vehicles.
       
      11
      Homage to you, to put an end to evil opposition,
      You subdued the Maras at Gaya in Bhanga,
      And ended the erroneous disputes of strife
      Of Devadatta, of the six Tirthika heretics and others.
       
      12
      Homage to you, whose `Unique Virtues' in the three worlds
      Had revealed the great miracle in Shravasti,
      And greatly spread the incease of the Dharma
      For the reverence of the devas, humans and all other beings.
       
       
       
        XII.  Passing into Parinirvana
       
      13
      Homage to you, to make the lazy to speed up their efforts,
      In the pure ground of Kushinagara revealed,
      The death of his deathless vajra-like body,
      And then passed into parinirvâNa.
       
      14
      Homage to you, to show that perfect reality was free of dying.
      And for future sentient beings to gather merits,
      You emanated many relics there to venerate,
      Which were divided up into eight parts
       

      SUMMARY
       
      15
      Through the merit of these brief praises of the deeds
      Of the Blessed One, the Lord of the Sacred Dharma,
      May the conduct of all the migrators
      Become equal to the Sugata's deeds.
       
      16
      Let us, I and all the beings, Tathagata,
      Come to have a body, a long life,
      An entourage, a pure land, and
      Supreme marks of perfection like yours.
       
      17
      Through the power of praising and supplicating you,
      May wherever we are, be free of
      Sickness, poverty and conflict.
      Please cause dharma and goodness to flourish.
       
      18
      By the Teacher's coming to the world,
      By his teachings illuminating it like the sun,
      And by the close harmony of its holders and their disciples,
      May the doctrine grow and flourish, becoming all auspicious!
       
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