What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

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

Post by PeterB » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:05 pm

The need or otherwise of these doctrines as pertaining to the Theravada IS I would suggest rather important in the context of a Theravadin forum which addresses the " Dhamma Of The Theravada"...
As far as I am aware this is still a Theravadin forum.
I realise that of course in the Mahayana view of things that is unimportant as the Mahayana somehow trumps and subsumes the Theravada.

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Dan74
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by Dan74 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:07 pm

I said this:
Dan74 wrote:The OP has implied that there is something wrong with Buddha Nature, so it might be worthwhile to understand what is actually meant by this term.
If you are not interested, that's OK, but other people may wish to be informed before coming to conclusions.
_/|\_

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tiltbillings
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:10 pm

Dan74 wrote:Basically like Muller (in the essay above) clearly shows, the so-called Critical Buddhism movement rather than being a Mahayana movement is a bunch of Japanese academics engaged in second-rate scholarship based on their fundamental misunderstanding of key Mahayana doctrines. It may be applicable to segments of Japanese Buddhism that share the same misunderstanding but it's certainly not applicable to Mahayana as a whole.
Well, first rate scholars such as Jamie Hubbard and Dan Lusthaus would probably disagree.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Dan74
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by Dan74 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:11 pm

Can you provide some further info?
_/|\_

PeterB
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by PeterB » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:12 pm

Perhaps someone would care to post a source of support for the idea of Buddha Dhatu from a Theravadin teacher ( other than the schismatic Brahmavamso, or supposed quotes from Ajahn Chah clumsily edited by Jack Kornfield to have him say pretty much the opposite of his normal line )
Being that this is a Theravadin forum an' all.
Not too much to ask surely ?
Last edited by PeterB on Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PeterB
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by PeterB » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:14 pm

Dan74 wrote:I said this:
Dan74 wrote:The OP has implied that there is something wrong with Buddha Nature, so it might be worthwhile to understand what is actually meant by this term.
If you are not interested, that's OK, but other people may wish to be informed before coming to conclusions.

You mean we need a complete biologically correct description of a Unicorn before concluding glibly that they are mythical ?

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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 2:01 pm

It seemed to me the main target of Ven. Thanissaro's talk was not Mahayana per se, but rather the eclectic, cross-fertilizing approach found in American Buddhism, which he finds troubling -- e.g. his joke about Rumi having been crowned Buddhist poet laureate.

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.

I think he was convincing insofar that he showed that "buddha nature" is not a necesssary concept in Theravada, and that Theravada can do just fine without it. Where I think he goes too far, however, is in his effort to show that it is pernicious and dangerous. Because in doing so, he resorts to a cariacture, a straw man. The "no-effort Buddhism" which he derides would also come under fire among Mahayanists as well. Indeed, there were several heated arguments back at the "grey forum" over this very issue.
PeterB wrote:The reality is if you frequent the pages of at least one Zen forum you will see that a full blown reification of Buddhadhatu is the default position. Your no's one and three are seen as mainstream Buddhism.
Practice becomes redefined as letting go of practice.
Sure, but that represents a tiny subset of Mahayana, and even of Zen/Chan/Seon. Could you imagine someone like Sheng-Yen or Yin-shun signing on to this notion? I can't.

PeterB
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by PeterB » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:17 pm

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.

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kirk5a
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by kirk5a » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:34 pm

I would just like to enter this for discussion, from Ajahn Maha Boowa. What can we say about this? Is what he is talking about different than "Buddha Nature"?
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... Dhamma.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
p.38

"This is now the one who is absolutely certain, who discerns and perceives everything. The
kilesas can't destroy the citta. Though they may be capable of ruining many things and they
might afflict the citta with hardship and suffering, they can't possibly annihilate it. This nature
is unassailable, absolute and permanent. It cannot be annihilated. At most, it may appear
multifarious due to the things it comes into association and involvement with. Once cleansed,
this nature is complete, perfect and immaculately pure. Conventionally, it is called the
‘supreme fourth samana’. In ultimate terms, it is ‘the Arahatta Dhamma inside the citta’. This
citta is now wholly Dhamma. The citta is Dhamma; the Dhamma is citta."
"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 3:02 pm

Yes.

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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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