Relying on the Teacher

In this section of The Great Treatise, Tsong-kha-pa refers to gurus having a deep understanding of the three scriptural knowledges.

Would this refer to the Tripitaka?

In this same section, he states that Buddhas and sages do not wash away "others' sins with water".
Instead they "accurately show the path".

Would this be a reference to Pure Land traditions?


bhantekirti2019's picture

Theravada perspective

There is a similar passage on Dhammapada where Buddha said, "Tumhehi kiccamatappam
akkhataro tathagata" which simply means one has to put effort to develop the path and remove unwholesome roots of greed, hatred and anger. The Buddha only show the path.

When Buddha was about to pass away, Venerable Ananda ask him who will lead the Buddha Sasana after his departure. He answered that teachings will be the teacher who will guide the practitioners to reach the goal.

Alejandro Cardeinte's picture

Relying on teaching or the teacher?

There is a saying that goes like this.."depend on the teaching and not on the teacher! What do you think? Since the Buddha didn't have a teacher to gain enlightenment.. Please share your thoughts.

Earl Hardie Karges's picture

Relying on the teaching, not the teacher...

I definitely agree to rely on the teaching, not the teacher. After all, teachers are only human, so subject to human frailties. Also, I think true masters are hard to find these days, especially in the Western world, which is arguably the future of Buddhism, if properly managed. I mean: how many Westerners, monks or laypeople, can even sit an hour in unflinching meditation? That's more important than all the Pali or Sanskrit ever spoken or written IMHO. Also the Abhidharmic shift from Dharma to dhammas was misguided in my opinion. I take refuge in the Dharma, not dhammas...

Alejandro Cardeinte's picture

I agree

Even in a classroom situation.Teachers are hoping for students to be more independent. Nowadays, students tend to be very dependent on their teachers when working on something. They don’t do research for information from encyclopedias or reference books from the library.

five solae

Both Luther (the inventor of European Protestantism) and Shinran (XII-XIII century Japanese Buddhist monk) thought faith alone could save man (sola scriptura; sola fide; sola gratia; soli Deo gloria; solo Christo). Even noted theologian Karl Barth remarked such similarities. Both Buddhism and Protestantism may be broadly considered as theologies of personal motives:”Also Shinran reflected on the basic practice of recitation in the Pure Land school and gave it an interpretation which voided the egoistic elements by stressing gratitude”1. Japanese Buddhist founder Nichiren also praised faith as the ingredient without which even the Lotus Sutra or the Gohonzon (mandala) become useless in the pursuit of salvation.

The sayings of Jesus are dictated by those who followed him; the Teacher is the effect produced by those who are supposed to be receiving the teaching. -...-the founder is founded.(Caputo, cit. in Fischer 1994:16, emphasis added).

The historical Jesus did not make history. The remembered Jesus did. (Ehrman 2016:146, emphasis added).