What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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kirk5a
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by kirk5a » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:28 pm

PeterB wrote:Yes.
Yes... what Ajahn Maha Boowa is saying is different from what other (Mayhayana) teachers are talking about when they use the words "Buddha Nature?"

How so?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

PeterB
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by PeterB » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:39 pm

Yes its different. He is talking about attainment, not an a priori universal state.

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kirk5a
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by kirk5a » Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:07 pm

PeterB wrote:Yes its different. He is talking about attainment, not an a priori universal state.
So if someone talks about attaining a nature which is unassailable, absolute and permanent, then that's fine and not a pernicious doctrine. A nature which is the Dhamma.

But if there's talk of a permanent nature which is an "a priori universal state" then it's a pernicious doctrine.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

PeterB
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by PeterB » Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:15 pm

If someone talks about attaining any permanent state, that is pernicious .
According to the Theravada.
What is attained is a freedom from such views.

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Lazy_eye
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by Lazy_eye » Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:25 pm

PeterB wrote:I have no doubt that the good Bhikkhu is right and that it is a pernicious doctrine.
Happily not one that need detain Theravadin Buddhists except when it is periodically dragged in through the back door.


Goodness it must be a burden bringing the gospel of Buddhist ecumenicism to the benighted. Exausting I should think.
Peter,

I can't see any problem with Theravada Buddhists ignoring the topic of Buddha Nature or any other Mahayana doctrine. But if someone launches a thread on the topic, isn't that an invitation to have a discussion about it?

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kirk5a
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by kirk5a » Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:32 pm

PeterB wrote:If someone talks about attaining any permanent state, that is pernicious .
According to the Theravada.
What is attained is a freedom from such views.
And is the attainment of freedom from such views a permanent state?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by PeterB » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:00 pm

Why are you asking questions that you probably know the answers to kirk5a ? Are you bored ?

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kirk5a
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by kirk5a » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:12 pm

PeterB wrote:Why are you asking questions that you probably know the answers to kirk5a ? Are you bored ?
I am asking questions about what you have said Peter. Answer or don't. Whether I'm bored or not is off-topic.

What is on topic is that you have said "Buddha Nature" is a pernicious doctrine. How do we tell if a doctrine is pernicious? "If someone talks about attaining any permanent state, that is pernicious" you say.

And yet you speak of the attainment of freedom from views. So is that a permanent state or not? It's an obvious question, since you've defined how to spot a pernicious view.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by PeterB » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:25 pm

"If you got to ask that lady, you shouldnt be messing with all this ".

Fats Waller to a woman who asked him to define "swing "....

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Kusala
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by Kusala » Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:59 am

Aloka wrote:More about the Tibetan Buddhist viewpoint....

From "Path to Buddhahood -teachings on Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation"by Ringu Tulku :
"Buddha Shakyamuni himself asserted the presence of buddha nature, and we have every reason to trust what he said, as he himself attained Buddhahood. Who better to tell us whether buddha nature exists or not? In the Samadhiraja Sutra the Buddha says, "The essence of Buddhahood pervades all beings." Likewise, the Mahaparinirvana Sutra says "All beings possess the nature of buddha or tathagatagarbha. " This same sutra goes on to explain that buddha nature is inherent in all beings as butter is inherent in milk. This assertion was not only made by Buddha himself but also by his successors, particularly those who founded and developed Mahayana Buddhism such as Asanga and Nagarjuna."
The text then goes on to say that the nature of both samsara and nirvana is shunyata and therefore the basic nature of all beings is also shunyata.

"Ananda, what does the Order of the Sangha expect from me? I have taught the Dhamma without making any distinction as exoteric and esoteric. With regard to the truth, the Tathagata has nothing like the closed fist of a teacher..."
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"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

--------------------------------------------
"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "

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Nibbida
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by Nibbida » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:46 am

Lazy_eye wrote:So we don't necessarily need to frame this discussion in terms of Theravada vs. Mahayana. It could equally well (perhaps better) be framed in terms of "orthodox Theravada" vs. the more syncretic approach that we find among, say, the Insight Meditation Society folks.
Good point.

I rather like the syncretic approach of the IMS folks.

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ground
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by ground » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:08 am

What is Wrong with Buddha Nature
IMO the question is not really helpful. What appears more appropriate is the question "What dangers may be involved with the concept 'Buddha Nature' ?"


Kind regards

PeterB
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by PeterB » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:45 am

TMingyur wrote:
What is Wrong with Buddha Nature
IMO the question is not really helpful. What appears more appropriate is the question "What dangers may be involved with the concept 'Buddha Nature' ?"


Kind regards

Kind of boils down to the same thing really.
We could phrase it differently.
Are there any inherent dangers in ascribing Buddhist Doctrinal status to a concept not found in the teachings of the Buddha ?
One that kind of snuck in later, as was then used as a tribal marker to distinguish the sneakers-in ?

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Ben
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by Ben » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:58 am

Hi darvki,
darvki wrote:Indeed, but this is not grounds for indiscriminantly rejecting use of the phrase.
Then perhaps you could draw our attention to "buddha nature" in the tipitaka? I think that would greatly aid discussion.
kind regards

en
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Dan74
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by Dan74 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:04 am

It's been said before - it has been used synonymously in various Mahayana schools with dependent origination, emptiness, unborn, unconditioned, the potentiality for awakening, the luminous mind free from defilements, freedom from delusion, unbinding and the liberated mind being no different to the mind of the Buddha. It is not a "thingie" in most treatments, it is simply a pointer to awakening. It is what happens when the defilements, obscurations and ignorance are removed.

I don't think it is reasonable to declare every phrase and device used by a teacher heretical if it is not found verbatum in the Canon. What matters is the import of the teaching, what it is pointing towards. Just like intention with sila, so it is with the teachings - if they point towards liberation from delusion, they are Dhamma.

Of course not being liberated, we do have a tendency to cling to words - make a fetish of the raft rather than use it for its intended purpose. I don't recall my teacher use Buddha nature in her teachings, but for other teachers and students it may be appropriate.
_/|\_

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