Buddha Nature ?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby PeterB » Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:21 pm

Please feel free to ignore my ungrounded opinions and generalisations. They are opinions. They are not scholarly essays. :tongue:
I have no intention in a non scholarly discussion thread characterised pretty much by subjective opinions to attempt to present a coherent arguement. I am just shooting the breeze based on things experiential. If you find that useful. fine. If you dont.. fine.
Last edited by PeterB on Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby Mukunda » Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:27 pm

TMingyur wrote:
PeterB wrote:I dont think ...

That's the issue.

PeterB wrote:that the Mahayana see ...

That's the other issue.

Kind regards

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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby PeterB » Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:30 pm

Ban who or what ?
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby BlackBird » Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:01 pm

Here's another avenue for discussion in this topic: Ajahn Mun (according to Ajahn Maha Boowa & friends)

If you've read Ajahn Mun's spiritual biography, it's clear to see the atta cropping up, especially in that scene where Ajahn Mun supposedly attains arahantship and all the Buddhas and Arahants come back from Nibbana to speak to him and congratulate him on his attainment. Furthermore the way they describe 'citta' throughout the book definitely verges on eternal-self, which is unchanging.

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:21 pm

Hi Jack

The biography of Ajahn Mun is not consensual among his disciples.

Metta
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:50 am

Hi Modus.Ponens,

Are you saying that the "citta that never dies" stuff Ajahn Maha Boowa's idea?
E.g. see:
http://www.forestdhammabooks.com/book/3 ... ossary.pdf
citta: The citta is the mind’s essential knowing nature, the fundamental quality
of knowing that underlies all sentient existence. When associated with
a physical body, it is referred to as “mind” or “heart”. Being corrupted
by the defiling influence of fundamental ignorance (avijjã), its currents
“flow out” to manifest as feelings (vedanã), memory (saññã), thoughts
(sankhãra), and consciousness (viññãõa), thus embroiling the citta in a
web of self-deception. It is deceived about its own true nature. The true
nature of the citta is that it simply “knows”. There is no subject, no object,
no duality; it simply knows. The citta does not arise or pass away; it is never
born and never dies.
...


Jack, that's an interesting observation. I vaguely recall a thread, probably on E-Sangha, where someone compared some of the experiential stuff that Ajahans Mun and Boowa talk about with Mahayana and speculated that they were connected.

Metta
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:09 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Modus.Ponens,

Are you saying that the "citta that never dies" stuff Ajahn Maha Boowa's idea?
...
Metta
Mike


Hi Mike

I'm not saying that it's his idea, I'm not qualified to tell that. My point was just that one should be careful of what comes from that bio.

Metta
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:24 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Jack, that's an interesting observation. I vaguely recall a thread, probably on E-Sangha, where someone compared some of the experiential stuff that Ajahans Mun and Boowa talk about with Mahayana and speculated that they were connected.

Metta
Mike

One of the interesting things that came out the numerous threads about Ajahn Mun was that Maha Boowa's accounting was not accepted by other Ajahn Mun's students.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby BlackBird » Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:34 am

Let's get to the 'heart' of this eh?

Ajahn Mun wrote:So meditators, when they know in this manner, should do away with these counterfeits by analyzing them shrewdly, as explained in the strategies of clear insight, § 9. When they develop the mind to the stage of the primal mind, this will mean that all counterfeits are destroyed, or rather, counterfeit things won't be able to reach into the primal mind, because the bridge making the connection will have been destroyed. Even though the mind may then still have to come into contact with the preoccupations of the world, its contact will be like that of a bead of water rolling over a lotus leaf.


Ajahn Mun wrote:it returns to its state as 0 (zero) — empty, open, and clear, beyond all counting and naming. It doesn't stay in the nine places that are abodes for living beings. Instead, it stays in a place devoid of supposing and formulation: its inherent nature as 0 (zero), or activityless-ness, as mentioned in § 14.


Ajahn Mun wrote:Passion, aversion, and delusion thus arise, causing the primal mind to stray deludedly after birth, aging, illness, and death, circling around endlessly through innumerable states of becoming and birth — all through the instigation of mental fashioning.


- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eased.html

Here is another source, it's a poem Ajahn Mun wrote:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/mun/ballad.html

Here are some excerpts:

Saññas settle out, sankharas don't disturb it.
The heart is thus brimming, with nothing lacking.


The heart knowing the Dhamma of ultimate ease
sees for sure that the khandhas are always stressful.
The Dhamma stays as the Dhamma,
the khandhas stay as khandhas, that's all.


When the mind sees the Dhamma,
abundantly good
& released from error,
meeting the Dhamma, it sheds all things
that would make it restless.
It's mindful, in & of itself,
& unentangled.
Its love for the khandhas comes to an end,


Emphasis mine. I'm not going to pass judgement on these passages, for it seem to me that heart/mind could be used in a conventional sense which would not contradict anatta, but then again it could be atta-ditthi. Hard to say from my perspective.

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby christopher::: » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:36 am

BlackBird wrote:Let's get to the 'heart' of this eh?

Ajahn Mun wrote:So meditators, when they know in this manner, should do away with these counterfeits by analyzing them shrewdly, as explained in the strategies of clear insight, § 9. When they develop the mind to the stage of the primal mind, this will mean that all counterfeits are destroyed, or rather, counterfeit things won't be able to reach into the primal mind, because the bridge making the connection will have been destroyed. Even though the mind may then still have to come into contact with the preoccupations of the world, its contact will be like that of a bead of water rolling over a lotus leaf.


Sounds similar to Advaita, Dzogchen, Big Mind, etc...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rigpa

"Rigpa is a Tibetan word, which in general means ‘intelligence’ or ‘awareness’. In Dzogchen, however, the highest teachings in the Buddhist tradition of Tibet, rigpa has a deeper connotation, ‘the innermost nature of the mind’. The whole of the teaching of Buddha is directed towards realizing this, our ultimate nature, the state of omniscience or enlightenment – a truth so universal, so primordial that it goes beyond all limits, and beyond even religion itself."
Sogyal Rinpoche




:juggling:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:39 am

it's also similar to ajahn chah's poo roo "one who knows"

i think ajahn sujato makes an interesting observation about this though

สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:16 am

:smile: Just matching some of my morning reading:

From Paul Swanson, Foundations of T'ien-T'ai Philosophy: The Flowering of the Two Truths Theory in Chinese Buddhism.

p. 78:

4. The school which manifests reality. ... The "real" is identified with the tathagatagarbha ...

Later Hui-yuan loosely identifies this school ... their ultimate teaching ... is the doctrine of the dependent co-arising of reality.


p. 79:

6. Truly real existence. This refers to the tathagatagarbha as conditioned co-arising and includes both samsara and nirvana. Thus reality is identical with this phenomenal world of pratityasamutpada correctly perceived.


p. 153:

The supreme truth of the Middle Path is called the Middle

because it avoids the two extremes. To avoid the two extremes means: to avoid the extreme of yu [Hf: existence], the passionate views of ordinary men, and to avoid the extreme of emptiness [Hf: non-existence], the perception of no names and no marks by those in the two vehicles; to avoid the two extremes of the mundane truth and the real truth; to avoid the two extremes of the worldly truth and the supreme truth; to avoid all of these extremes. This is called non-duality. The reality of non-duality is called the Middle. ... This is the enlightened perception of all Buddhas and bodhisattvas ... therefore it is called the supreme truth of the Middle Path. It is also called the truth of one reality, and is also called emptiness, the Buddha-nature, the Dharma realm, thusness, and the Tathagatagarbha.


Just a note on this last one: "Dharma realm" is from "fa-jie", the translation for "dharma-dhatu", which is a synonym for dependent origination in the Agamas / Nikayas. "Thusness" is from "ru", ie. "tathata", which is also amongst those synonyms, too.

Now, despite there being some differences here between the position on Tathagatagarbha and classical Theravada, which I will not deny, I merely wish to point out that the position of Buddha Nature / Tathagatagarbha in these teachings from early Chinese Mahayana do not really match the basic Advaita Vedanta stuff referred to above. There is much closer affinity to the teachings of emptiness, dependent origination and so forth, such as lack of substantiality. (Actually, the standard Advaita Vedanta had yet to appear in India when the Chinese made this points.)

These aren't just Tiantai positions, but show some of the most important trends in pre-Tang China. This was the formative period for the slightly later hey-day. It takes another shift or two in China to get into more Huayan style theory, which is probably closer to a "dhatu-vada", as the modern Japanese scholastic movement called "Critical Buddhism" would call (criticize) it. They argue that this "dhatu-vada" is not the same as the "dharma-dhatu" as dependent origination in earlier teachings. Rather, it is a teaching of substantiality.

I'm quite open to discussion on some of these points, but I hope that people can maybe do some homework first. And please don't jump on a single word or two, because one needs to kind of see the bigger picture of these systems. A single word or two can be read in a number of ways. :smile:
Last edited by Paññāsikhara on Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:23 am

PeterB wrote:Please feel free to ignore my ungrounded opinions and generalisations. They are opinions. They are not scholarly essays. :tongue:
I have no intention in a non scholarly discussion thread characterised pretty much by subjective opinions to attempt to present a coherent arguement. I am just shooting the breeze based on things experiential. If you find that useful. fine. If you dont.. fine.


Sure, thanks PeterB. I still appreciate your breeze that got shot! I did find it useful, because it gives me some insight into how these ideas are conveyed in Vajrayana and Zen teachings.

My post above from Swanson is hoping to go a small step further than my earlier one, which was also experiential. Hopefully a little more than just a subjective opinion, if that is indeed possible. If you have the time, I would appreciate your thoughts. :smile:
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:28 am

Paññāsikhara wrote::
Now, despite there being some differences here between the position on Tathagatagarbha and classical Theravada, which I will not deny, I merely wish to point out that the position of Buddha Nature / Tathagatagarbha in these teachings from early Chinese Mahayana do not really match the basic Advaita Vedanta stuff referred to above. There is much closer affinity to the teachings of emptiness, dependent origination and so forth, such as lack of substantiality. (Actually, the standard Advaita Vedanta had yet to appear in India when the Chinese made this points.)

Bhante, Outside the scholars who know this stuff and maybe the hardline Gelugs and maybe Dogen, buddha-nature rather devolved after that as a concept and in the usual parlance of some Buddhists today, Buddha-nature takes on a thingie nature, a sort of real thing that we really are. It is a doctrine – I said agreeing with Richard Hayes – we are better off without.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby christopher::: » Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:33 am

Related to Tilt's observations, there's a new thread Dhamma Reinvented: Big Mind, Buddha Nature, etc.. in the the Dhamic-Free-for-All forum. We can also revive Tathāgatagarbha & Buddha-dhatu (DFFA version) over there if the moderators feel this conversation is drifting too far out of the bounds of "Discovering Theravada"...

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby PeterB » Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:03 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
PeterB wrote:Please feel free to ignore my ungrounded opinions and generalisations. They are opinions. They are not scholarly essays. :tongue:
I have no intention in a non scholarly discussion thread characterised pretty much by subjective opinions to attempt to present a coherent arguement. I am just shooting the breeze based on things experiential. If you find that useful. fine. If you dont.. fine.


Sure, thanks PeterB. I still appreciate your breeze that got shot! I did find it useful, because it gives me some insight into how these ideas are conveyed in Vajrayana and Zen teachings.

My post above from Swanson is hoping to go a small step further than my earlier one, which was also experiential. Hopefully a little more than just a subjective opinion, if that is indeed possible. If you have the time, I would appreciate your thoughts. :smile:

Can I come back to you on that ven Huifeng ?
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby PeterB » Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:04 am

christopher::: wrote:Related to Tilt's observations, there's a new thread Dhamma Reinvented: Big Mind, Buddha Nature, etc.. in the the Dhamic-Free-for-All forum. We can also revive Tathāgatagarbha & Buddha-dhatu (DFFA version) over there if the moderators feel this conversation is drifting too far out of the bounds of "Discovering Theravada"...

:anjali:

Thanks for the heads up Chris, I will avoid those straight away.. :smile: While staggering under the ennui....
Such thread always make me think of Cooran's sig. " The problem is you think you have time"

If concepts like Buddha Nature are useful to you Chris, incorporate them into your practise. If not, dont.
I think in this short life we need to poo or get off the pot.
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby christopher::: » Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:34 am

PeterB wrote:If concepts like Buddha Nature are useful to you Chris, incorporate them into your practise. If not, dont. I think in this short life we need to poo or get off the pot.


That works. Though sometimes we need friends to turn on the light for us, to realize there had never been a pot there, you'd been pissing on the kitchen floor.

The concept of buddha nature had indeed seemed useful, up until very recently. Thanks again for nudging me to check out Thanissaro Bikkhu...

Image
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Mar 21, 2010 10:43 am

While actually looking for something quite different, I managed to stumble over this, by Prof Jamie Hubbard.
TATHĀGATAGARBHA, EMPTINESS, AND MONISM
Shows up, for example, a range of different takes on whether there is much in the way of "thing-ness" there. And, even when there is, to what extent and whether or not it is similar to the Upanisads (for instance).
One can cut to the chase scene at pg. 11.
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Re: Buddha Nature ?

Postby christopher::: » Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:22 pm

Looks really interesting. Thanks for that, Venerable Huifeng.

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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