What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby Ben » Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:00 am

PeterB wrote:Or two, The Theravada does teach the concept of an a priori universal Buddha Nature .

Either explicitly or tacitly - I would like to see where.
As I am sure you, Peter, and others would be interested in this as well.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:08 am

And in looking at the following, we can see what a real mess the notion of "buddha-nature" is. It is not a Pali sutta/Theravada teaching.

kirk5a wrote:I thought it would be interesting to do a search for the use of the exact expression "Buddha Nature" by Theravadins. Here's what comes up from searching the site what-buddha-taught.net. I tried to check each one to see if they are "Theravada" - seems so to me. With possible exception of the poet "Matrceta" - but his poems look like they're referenced in Theravada circles?

Enjoy. :popcorn:

Luang Por Liem Áhitadhammo
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... reness.pdf
Opening our eyes will enable us to see nature within
ourselves, and our own inner Buddha-nature:
awakening. The hardships of poverty, and the allure
of wealth: even the power that these things can hold
over us can not separate us from our own essential
nature.


Ven Dr K Sri Dhammananda
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... ankind.pdf
"Buddhists believe that in every living being lies hidden the Buddha-seed or Buddha-
nature waiting to ripen. That means, in every person there exists the potential to
become pure like the Buddha."

"What meaning has the Enlightenment of the Buddha for us? Firstly, the Buddha made us
realise our true potential for Enlightenment, that is, our Buddha nature"

Guy Armstrong
in preface to Small Boat, Great Mountain by Ajahn Amaro
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... untain.pdf
"So perhaps it should not be too surprising that in the modern
Thai forest tradition we find an understanding of Dharma with
strong parallels to the central tenets of Mahayana and Tibetan
Buddhism. The Mahayana doctrine of Buddha-nature, for
instance, tells us that our very essence is an unborn and undying
awareness. In a later expression of the teachings through the
Dzogchen school, specific meditation techniques have been
developed to allow practitioners to recognize and abide in this
nature. Ajahn Amaro (whose name means “deathless”)
commented that this specific teaching is the national anthem of
the Thai forest tradition."

"May their message lead all those who read them
directly to their own Buddha-nature and to the vast freedom of
the Natural Great Perfection."

Ajahn Chah
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... reedom.htm
translated by Venerable Ajahn Puriso
"So whether standing, walking, sitting or lying we should have sati to watch over and look after the mind. When we see external things it's like seeing internals. When we see internals it's the same as seeing externals. If we understand this then we can hear the teaching of the Buddha. If we understand this, then we can say that Buddha-nature, the 'One who knows', has been established. It knows the external. It knows the internal. It understands all things which arise. Understanding like this, then sitting at the foot of a tree we hear the Buddha's teaching. Standing, walking, sitting or lying, we hear the Buddha's teaching. Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking, we hear the Buddha's teaching. The Buddha is just this 'One who knows' within this very mind. It knows the Dhamma, it investigates the Dhamma. It's not that the Buddha-nature, the 'one who knows', arises. The mind becomes illumined."

"When Añña Kondañña, the first disciple, heard the Buddha's teaching for the first time, the realization he had was nothing very complicated. He simply saw that whatever thing is born, that thing must change and grow old as a natural condition and eventually it must die. Añña Kondañña had never thought of this before, or if he had it wasn't thoroughly clear, so he hadn't yet let go, he still clung to the khandhas. As he sat mindfully listening to the Buddha's discourse, Buddha-nature arose in him. He received a sort of Dhamma "transmission," which was the knowledge that all conditioned things are impermanent. Any thing which is born must have aging and death as a natural result."

"The eight worldly dhammas are right here in this very mind, with the 'One who knows' but this 'One who knows' has obstructions, so it knows wrongly and thus becomes the world. It's just this one 'One who knows', no other! The Buddha-nature has not yet arisen in this mind, it has not yet extracted itself from the world. The mind like this is the world."

"There's a story in the scriptures about the Buddha, before he was enlightened. At that time, having received a plate of rice, he floated that plate on a stream of water, determining in his mind, "If I am to be enlightened, may this plate float against the current of the water." The plate floated upstream! That plate was the Buddha's right view, or the Buddha-nature that he became awakened to. It didn't follow the desires of ordinary beings. It floated against the flow of his mind, it was contrary in every way."

http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... Part_2.htm
"Many people contend that since the mind is inherently pure, since we all have Buddha nature, it's not necessary to practice. But this is like taking something clean, like this tray, for example, and then I come and drop some dung on it. Will you say that this tray is originally clean, and so you don't have to do anything to clean it now?"

Matrceta
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/acces ... el360.html
114 With mind detached, you quietly work
for the welfare of the world.
How awesome is the Buddha-nature of the Buddha! [30]
30. Buddhadharmata. See Encyclopedia of Buddhism, Vol. III (Colombo, 1973), p.435.

Venerable Anando
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... HE_WAY.htm
"Intentionally bring up the question 'Who?' and notice clearly what state of mind follows. The mind stops! We can struggle to find some intellectual answer; maybe our name comes to fill in the gap or maybe an exalted, inspired idea like 'The Original Mind'. But the Original Mind is not the thought 'Original Mind'. Buddha-nature is not the thought 'Buddha-nature'. Thinking is just thinking. Thought does not really answer the question 'Who?'"

Ajaan Mahã Boowa Ñãnasampanno
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... Dhamma.pdf
The Buddho which is hard and difficult to meet
with (as it says in the above passage in Pãli) will then become manifest in one’s heart.
Buddho may be divided into three kinds, as follows:
1. Buddho — means the Buddhas who arise in the world; but they arise only very rarely,
and only one at a time. In this meaning, Buddho is rare and hard to meet with.
2. Buddho — means the arising of the pure (parisuddhi) of all the Sãvakas, which is also
rare and hard to meet with.
3. Buddho — meaning the “Buddha” inside ordinary beings who are under the influence
of kilesas. This kind of Buddho is common and so not hard to meet with.
How is this so with the third kind? It is so, because this “Buddha” is always supervised,
covered up, oppressed and compelled by the kilesas, tanhã, and ãsavas, which will not let it
show itself and be free.
When the citta or knowledge is of this kind, it is not able to get free and raise itself out of
the mud and mire of the kilesas, taõhã and ãsavas. How then can this Buddha nature come to
know the truth of all things, which is the way of cause and effect in all sabhãva-dhammas?
When this Buddha nature is going to examine, investigate, clean and correct its state by
training all the time in virtue, gracefulness and goodness, it is necessary to start with, that one
should be in a suitable social environment with a wise and learned man (a Teacher) who is
skilled in the ways of curing one’s self to enable one to get free from one’s obstructing
difficulties (upasagga), whether they be internal or external.

Image
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: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby PeterB » Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:11 am

Ben wrote:
PeterB wrote:Or two, The Theravada does teach the concept of an a priori universal Buddha Nature .

Either explicitly or tacitly - I would like to see where.
As I am sure you, Peter, and others would be interested in this as well.
kind regards

Ben

I would Ben....what I expect though, if anything are quotes removed from their context and sprayed about willy nilly
in a way that does violence to the meaning that their sources intended.
Which is what too often passes for debate.
It has struck me more than once that a removal of the quoting facility might actually result in dialogue rather than in games of oneupmanship.
"I'll see your Ajahn Sumedho and raise you two Ajahn Chahs."
..usually from people that have never been east of Brooklyn.
I know for a fact that Luang Por Chah, Ajahn Anando and Ajahn Amaro do not / did not accept Tathagatagarhba doctrines.
Ajahn Amaro is still around. It would be a simple matter to ask him.
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby Dan74 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:26 am

What useful direction do you see for this thread, Peter?
_/|\_
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby PeterB » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:43 am

Its not my thread.
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby PeterB » Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:05 am

Ajahn Amaro who is now Abbott of Amaravati can be contacted at;


Amaravati Buddhist Monastery
54,Margarets Lane,
Great Gaddesden,
Hemel Hempsted,
Hertfordshire.
UK.
HP1 3B2.
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby darvki » Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:42 am

PeterB wrote:There are two possibilities one is that the term Buddha nature is being used by those gentlemen in a very different way to its use in the Mahayana...and I have sat at the feet of two, sorry three of those gentlemen, I dont believe that they were using the term in a way analogous to the use by the Mahayana...but I may have mistaken their meaning.
Or two, The Theravada does teach the concept of an a priori universal Buddha Nature .
In which case I am not only mistaken...but I am guilty of misleading others and will do the honorable thing.


I'm quite convinced they aren't teaching the concept of a priori universal buddha nature. However, this doesn't mean they aren't using the term analgously to how it can be used in the Mahayana, since the Mahayana has no standard way of defining the concept.

This has been my point all along: buddha nature doesn't have to mean a priori enlightenment-element. When it doesn't mean that, it can be taught in the Theravada as we've seen with these quotes. If it makes everyone feel better to put "as a poetic device" at the end of every "buddha nature", go ahead, but the phrase is there.
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby PeterB » Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:56 pm

In other words its OK for Theravadins to use terms like Buddha Nature as long as they use them in a way that is essentially meaningless.
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:36 pm

Buddha nature, everlasting luminous minds, the One who knows are all terms which can lead to great confusion, as the listeners will immediately project their nicca, sukha, atta delusions on to them.

No one who has seen the cessation of arising and passing away (ie suffering) would mistake this for enlightenment.

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:49 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Buddha nature, everlasting luminous minds, the One who knows are all terms which can lead to great confusion, as the listeners will immediately project their nicca, sukha, atta delusions on to them.

No one who has seen the cessation of arising and passing away (ie suffering) would mistake this for enlightenment.

With metta

Matheesha
Yes. It is a term of, at very best of limited use. It really need to be let go of.
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: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby Dan74 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:42 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:Buddha nature, everlasting luminous minds, the One who knows are all terms which can lead to great confusion, as the listeners will immediately project their nicca, sukha, atta delusions on to them.

No one who has seen the cessation of arising and passing away (ie suffering) would mistake this for enlightenment.

With metta

Matheesha
Yes. It is a term of, at very best of limited use. It really need to be let go of.


All sorts of things need to let gone of, but some of the ones to be let gone of later help to let go of the whole bunch of earlier ones. In this way, they are useful.

(Edited for typos)
Last edited by Dan74 on Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
_/|\_
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:27 pm

Dan74 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:Buddha nature, everlasting luminous minds, the One who knows are all terms which can lead to great confusion, as the listeners will immediately project their nicca, sukha, atta delusions on to them.

No one who has seen the cessation of arising and passing away (ie suffering) would mistake this for enlightenment.

With metta

Matheesha
Yes. It is a term of, at very best of limited use. It really need to be let go of.


All sorts of things need to let fone of, but some of the ones to be let gone of later help to let go of the whole bunch of earlier ones. In this way, they are useful.
And as we have seen buddha-nature is not really very helpful, with all the confusion surrounding it. The Buddha did not teach it.
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: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby Dan74 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:32 pm

Not helpful to whom?

Why then do these eminent teachers use it?
_/|\_
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby Aloka » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:45 pm

Dan74 wrote:Not helpful to whom?



Certainly not helpful to me. I found it confusing when I was a Vajrayana practitioner, wondering if ''all sentient beings have Buddha Nature" how this could apply, for example, to slugs.

...and its irrelevant to my practice in the here and now.
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:01 pm

Aloka wrote: if ''all sentient beings have Buddha Nature" how this could apply, for example, to slugs.


Reworded slightly, and with a different choice of animal, that's one of the most famous Zen koans. :)
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby PeterB » Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:29 pm

Zen koans.....yet another superfluous mound of baggage from a Theravadin perspective...

Buddha Dhatu.....KOANS yet... :lol:

Does anyone log onto DW to find out about the Theravada ?
Or do they see it as a fruitful field for missionary work..?

Koans... :lol: Come on guys, be real.
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:48 pm

Dan74 wrote:Not helpful to whom?

Why then do these eminent teachers use it?
Good, question, and then look at all the confusion this unneeded notion engenders.
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: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby Dan74 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:29 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:Not helpful to whom?

Why then do these eminent teachers use it?
Good, question, and then look at all the confusion this unneeded notion engenders.



Which of the Buddha's teachings never engender confusion? To my mind, the Buddha Nature teachings are a great encouragement, but I prefer the way Zen teachers like Linchi and Tungshan use it, rather than the approaches like Nirvana Sutra. Horses for Courses.
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:42 am

Dan74 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:Not helpful to whom?

Why then do these eminent teachers use it?
Good, question, and then look at all the confusion this unneeded notion engenders.



Which of the Buddha's teachings never engender confusion? To my mind, the Buddha Nature teachings are a great encouragement, but I prefer the way Zen teachers like Linchi and Tungshan use it, rather than the approaches like Nirvana Sutra. Horses for Courses.
Yes, well; however, it is the Nirvana Sutra version that wins out, given that it appeals to delusion.
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: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Postby darvki » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:01 am

PeterB wrote:In other words its OK for Theravadins to use terms like Buddha Nature as long as they use them in a way that is essentially meaningless.


If you want to call poetic devices meaningless, I suppose yes. I personally find such devices to be far from meaningless.

Aloka wrote:
Dan74 wrote:Not helpful to whom?



Certainly not helpful to me. I found it confusing when I was a Vajrayana practitioner, wondering if ''all sentient beings have Buddha Nature" how this could apply, for example, to slugs.

...and its irrelevant to my practice in the here and now.


Personally, it has never confused me, as a literal doctrine (which I do not subscribe to) or metaphor, and I do not find it irrelevant to my practice here and now. I think that it's perfectly helpful and if handled right does not have to cause additional delusion.

PeterB wrote:Zen koans.....yet another superfluous mound of baggage from a Theravadin perspective...

Buddha Dhatu.....KOANS yet... :lol:

Does anyone log onto DW to find out about the Theravada ?
Or do they see it as a fruitful field for missionary work..?

Koans... :lol: Come on guys, be real.


LE posted that mention of koans to point out a similarity, not to introduce them to the discussion.

No one has engaged in "missionary work". I find this allusion to be highly misplaced. If trying to support a minority view of something constitutes missionary work, then I'm probably most guilty of it out of everyone who's participated in this thread, and I resent the label. Buddha nature, even as no more than a poetic device, does not feature greatly in my thoughts on practice, and it has never been used, even as a poetic device, by my teacher.
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