Zla'od wrote:Buddhism, do you perhaps mean that the genuine sutras are those which were favored by the Cittamatra school? For example, right now, on my desk, I have a volume of the Middle Length (Pali) Suttas, and a translation of the Avatamsaka (Hua Yen) Sutra. Do either (or both) of these represent the genuine teaching of the Buddha? Why? How can one decide?
I would say both of them are genuine teachings of the Buddha. (Are the Middle Length (Pali) Sutras 中阿含 in Chinese? I just want to be 100% sure.)
You don’t look to the school, but you look into the essence of their teachings; the Cittamatra school could have favored Vijnana-Only (Vijnanavada) Sutras, what if they interpreted them in a wrong way then? Basically the Sutras are all right (apart from the tantras), but how people interpret them are quite important.
The Four Agamas Sutras (the first round of wheel-turning) focus on the Liberation-Way practices (the very basic for both Mahayana and Hinayana practices), which elaborate on the five aggregates, four noble truth, noble eightfold paths, and the twelve links of dependent arising. The subjects are all within the worldly five skandhas, twelve ayatanās and eighteen dhatavahs.
The Cittamatra school proceeds further to foster the Prajñāpāramitā wisdom, to uncover what is the original cause behind the whole existence and how it functions. These are the second and the third round of wheel-turning. Cittamatra refers to “three realms being Citta-Only, and all dharmas being Vijnana-Only.” In terms of Buddhism, the whole existence are divided into two categories, the mental dharma心法 and the form dharma 色法.
The Avatamsaka (Hua Yen) Sutra is much too profound to be properly understood by normal humans. When the Buddha attained Buddhood, He initially expounded the Hua Yen Sutra to the heavenly great Bodhisattvas. This is to show that the Buddha did attain the unsurpassed ultimate enlightenment; then the Buddha started to teach earthlings from the very beginning of the four Agamas Sutras.
How can on decide?
e.g., Any English native speaker can easily see my English writing is inadequate; just as simple as that! You just have to study and understand the contents of the Agama sutras as the very basic for the Buddhist learning, which I have compiled on the other thread more or less (very superficial only).
In Buddhist learning, you have to piece the knowing altogether like a jigsaw puzzle into a whole picture, the same way as we build up a pyramid, and the foundation is quite important. Once you have the fundamental knowledge of Buddhism, whenever someone is talking about Buddhism, you will automatically know it is or is not true Buddhism. The same way as you can judge my English. The difference is that, inadequate English can pass by with some guessing, but true Buddhism needs zoom lens in every details, it is about nothing or eternity.
I hope my reply is to your satisfaction, if not, please let me know. Thank you.