This comment writes, reasonably enough:
Worth mentioning regarding Tantra and Vajrayana that Vajrayana is not a path of renunciation
So I was wondering what it is, if it isn't that.
I remembered that I've read that there are, but know very nearly nothing about, Five paths -- starting with the "path of accumulation".
- Is this doctrine ("five paths") for/from all (or most) forms of Mahayana, including East Asian and Zen for example, or is it more just Tibetan?
This wiki entry says,
It is called the path of accumulation because it is the stage at which one makes a special effort to gather the accumulation of merit, and also because it marks the beginning of many incalculable aeons of gathering the accumulations.
On the lesser path of accumulation it is uncertain when one will reach the path of joining. On the intermediate path of accumulation it is certain that one will reach the path of joining in the very next lifetime. On the greater path of accumulation it is certain that one will reach the path of joining within that very same lifetime.
There seems to be some controversy about whether (in "Theravada" for example) the doctrine is applicable "this very life" or whether it's understood as happening over multiple lifetimes.
Can you comment on that from a Mahayana view?
I'm not sure that I see the path[s] described in the Pali canon even as a "path of renunciation", though it's true that Nekkhamma is translated as "renunciation".
In formal Christian doctrine I think the word "renounce" is used in the context of "renouncing evil" or "renouncing the devil", and that the word "renounce" comes from a Latin word meaning "to protest".
I think that more informally/conventionally, though, the word is maybe used to imply something like, "try to do without what you like, at least temporarily" -- a person might try to renounce cigarette smoking, for example, or to eat less chocolate, or perhaps vow to stay with only one sexual partner.
I thought that Nekkhamma isn't quite like this informal meaning -- instead it involves clearly seeing the disadvantage of something, and therefore deciding that you don't even want it.
And so I think it might be more accurately described as a "path to cessation" rather than a "path of renunciation" -- cessation of suffering, of hindrances and afflictions etc. So:
- Are any/various forms of Mahayana too a "path to cessation", or not exactly?