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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ground
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by ground » Sat May 21, 2011 6:48 am

beeblebrox wrote:
daverupa wrote:So anatta is irrelevant? o.O;
Apart from the conventional usage... I think yes. What the Buddha taught was neither annihilationism (killing the self is the goal), nor nihilism (no self, so no worries). Why?
I don't agree. IMO it is about validly cognizing the absence of what has been misperceived as being "more than" mere thought.

How to "kill" a thought? Cognize it as such and don't nurture it further.
Worries are secondary thoughts that follow in the wake of the primary one.

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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by ground » Sat May 21, 2011 7:03 am

Now if anything then this emptiness of "self" actually meaning emptiness of "I" and "mine" may be called "Buddha nature".

But then ... why introduce a new term if there is already a more specific one?

The reason is that "Buddha nature" can be applied to mean "more than" the "mere lack of", the mere emptiness ... it can be applied to imply pre-existing positive, i.e. affirmed, qualities.

And this is the reason why even among Mahayanists the term "Buddha nature" has been revealed by some to be "a means" for those inclined to soul theories. Now if this "means" may be called "skillful" or not is a point of dissent even among Mahayanists.


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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by beeblebrox » Sat May 21, 2011 4:07 pm

TMingyur wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:
daverupa wrote:So anatta is irrelevant? o.O;
Apart from the conventional usage... I think yes. What the Buddha taught was neither annihilationism (killing the self is the goal), nor nihilism (no self, so no worries). Why?
I don't agree. IMO it is about validly cognizing the absence of what has been misperceived as being "more than" mere thought.
Anatta is still viewing it through the lens of "self." I think that the Dhamma not being annihilationism nor nihilism is probably one of the difficult points for most people... sometimes this causes them to fall back on "self" yet again, such as Buddha-nature (at least some interpretation of it), or Self, with a big "S", but they should be careful not to.

The reason why it's neither "killing the self" (which includes the illusory self) nor "no self, so no worries," is because these don't end the suffering. The idea of a self is the delusion here... which includes the idea of "no self," because it's still based around the idea of a self. The Buddha himself even said that the ones who assert "no self" are close, but still not there.

:anjali:

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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by ancientbuddhism » Sat May 21, 2011 6:12 pm

beeblebrox wrote:Just for convenience:

Sakkaya ditthi = identity view, one of the 10 fetters. It's an attempt to view a "self" as compared to the five aggregates, in the following ways: identical with them (form is self, consciousness is self, etc.); contained within them (self is found in form, self is found in consciousness, etc.); independent from them (self is beyond the form, self is beyond the consciousness, etc.); or owner of them (self owns the form, self owns the consciousness, etc).

I think that if the Dhamma is to be understood, and practiced to its fullest (all the way to liberation), the idea of "self" needs to be taken out of the equation completely, including the idea of "no self." It's really irrelevant to the practice (apart from conventional usage), and is a fetter.
Unfortunately this statement is irrelevant to the discussion (aside from being incorrect).

Sakkāya-diṭṭhi and all of the analysis the Buddha supplied with it was pointing to the principle of not-self as definitely relevant to practice! It is the problem which leads to dukkha.

The Buddha explains that Sakkāya-diṭṭhi is the taking-up (upādāya) of the khandhas as 'I am':

“It is by identification (upādāya) that there is ‘I am”, not without identification. It is by identification with material-form that there is ‘I am’, not without identification. It is by identification with sensations of feeling…; It is by identification with sense-perception …; It is by identification with volitional-cognition …; It is by identification with consciousness that there is ‘I am’, not without identification. - SN. 3.105 [SLTP]

Anatta is a realization of this habit, or as already stated in this thread:
TMingyur wrote: ‘…it (anatta) is about validly cognizing the absence of what has been misperceived as being "more than" mere thought.’
Back to the topic:

The notion of buddha-nature is fitting for the Buddha’s criticism under the sakkāya-diṭṭhi and anatta analysis, where it is pointing to the misapprehension of the khandhas and anything within their reach as beset with the ‘underlying notion of I-making and mine-making’ (ahaṃkāramamaṃkāramānānusayā); which is the tendency to reify anything as substantial, including this much later fad of buddha-nature awakening potential.
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by beeblebrox » Sat May 21, 2011 7:01 pm

When you say "not self," what idea are you using? What are you comparing it against? Once this idea is taken out of the equation... there is only the arising and falling away.

That is not the end, though. We still have to use this "insight" as something to end the suffering, for once.

:anjali:

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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by ancientbuddhism » Sun May 22, 2011 2:42 pm

beeblebrox wrote:When you say "not self," what idea are you using? What are you comparing it against? Once this idea is taken out of the equation... there is only the arising and falling away.

That is not the end, though. We still have to use this "insight" as something to end the suffering, for once.

:anjali:
By this reasoning why not take taṇhā and the entire pathway to dukkha out of the equation? …since this is interrupting your meditation.

Even better still, why don't we just reduce anatta to a strategy and just talk ourselves out of dukkha.
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by kirk5a » Sun May 22, 2011 2:50 pm

beeblebrox wrote:When you say "not self," what idea are you using? What are you comparing it against? Once this idea is taken out of the equation... there is only the arising and falling away.

That is not the end, though. We still have to use this "insight" as something to end the
self-grasping, which ends the
suffering, for once.
"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 acinteyyo » Sun May 22, 2011 3:36 pm

LastLegend wrote:Well if there is no self, there must be "something" there that is permanent? Otherwise an Arahant can get defiled again.
Actually it's the absence of "something" which is permanent which is why an arahant can't get defiled again.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by ground » Sun May 22, 2011 4:41 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:
Apart from the conventional usage... I think yes. What the Buddha taught was neither annihilationism (killing the self is the goal), nor nihilism (no self, so no worries). Why?
I don't agree. IMO it is about validly cognizing the absence of what has been misperceived as being "more than" mere thought.
Anatta is still viewing it through the lens of "self." I think that the Dhamma not being annihilationism nor nihilism is probably one of the difficult points for most people... sometimes this causes them to fall back on "self" yet again, such as Buddha-nature (at least some interpretation of it), or Self, with a big "S", but they should be careful not to.

The reason why it's neither "killing the self" (which includes the illusory self) nor "no self, so no worries," is because these don't end the suffering. The idea of a self is the delusion here... which includes the idea of "no self," because it's still based around the idea of a self. The Buddha himself even said that the ones who assert "no self" are close, but still not there.

:anjali:
Hmh .... either we don't agree or we are talking at cross purposes.

Be that as it may. Obviously you have an issue with the term "anatta" which I do not understand ...


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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by beeblebrox » Sun May 22, 2011 7:37 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:By this reasoning why not take taṇhā and the entire pathway to dukkha out of the equation? …since this is interrupting your meditation.

Even better still, why don't we just reduce anatta to a strategy and just talk ourselves out of dukkha.
I think you (and TMingyur) missed this... "apart from the conventional usage."

Try to think of it in this way:
Person #1 keeps on saying this for each of the aggregates, "This is not god. This is not god. This is not god... this is not god... this also is not god." (Like a broken record.)

Person #2 replies, "OK... now that we figured that out... why not just dump 'god,' so that we might study these aggregates for what they really are?"

Person #1 says, "No way! Saying that these are 'not god' is a crucial part of the practice..."
The only problem is... "god" is the delusion here. As long as this person #1 continues his "not god" thing, this idea of "god" will continue, forever. We can't do away with "god" or else we won't be able to say, "not god." The person #1 is basically insisting on viewing this practice through the lens of a delusion, and doesn't seem to know it.

This "atheist" can't seem to shake off the "god" thing... why not? It's like a bad comedy, with super-glue...

The point of this practice is that when you finally see something as a delusion, you let that fall away... and you do not pick it up again, ever... after this, "god" becomes an irrelevant part of the practice. There's a complete ending of that very delusion... and therefore, you don't have to be bothered with it, again.

When I was growing up (since I was little), I was always mystified why people would ask me whether I thought that "God" existed or not. I always said, "I don't know." I didn't understand why people would never seem to accept this answer... they wanted me to make up an answer about this, one way or other. What for?

When the idea of "self" becomes irrelevant (i.e., when you stop trying to use the idea of a "self" to view things)... what reason could there possibly be to continue with the use of "anatta"? Other than that there is still the idea of a "self" lingering? That, is why one shouldn't try to make up a self... just for the sake of using "anatta."

:anjali:

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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by Reductor » Sun May 22, 2011 11:50 pm

beeblebrox wrote: When the idea of "self" becomes irrelevant (i.e., when you stop trying to use the idea of a "self" to view things)... what reason could there possibly be to continue with the use of "anatta"? Other than that there is still the idea of a "self" lingering? That, is why one shouldn't try to make up a self... just for the sake of using "anatta."

:anjali:
:goodpost:

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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by ground » Mon May 23, 2011 4:38 am

beeblebrox wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:By this reasoning why not take taṇhā and the entire pathway to dukkha out of the equation? …since this is interrupting your meditation.

Even better still, why don't we just reduce anatta to a strategy and just talk ourselves out of dukkha.
I think you (and TMingyur) missed this... "apart from the conventional usage."

Try to think of it in this way:
Person #1 keeps on saying this for each of the aggregates, "This is not god. This is not god. This is not god... this is not god... this also is not god." (Like a broken record.)

Person #2 replies, "OK... now that we figured that out... why not just dump 'god,' so that we might study these aggregates for what they really are?"

Person #1 says, "No way! Saying that these are 'not god' is a crucial part of the practice..."
The only problem is... "god" is the delusion here. As long as this person #1 continues his "not god" thing, this idea of "god" will continue, forever. We can't do away with "god" or else we won't be able to say, "not god." The person #1 is basically insisting on viewing this practice through the lens of a delusion, and doesn't seem to know it.

This "atheist" can't seem to shake off the "god" thing... why not? It's like a bad comedy, with super-glue...

The point of this practice is that when you finally see something as a delusion, you let that fall away... and you do not pick it up again, ever... after this, "god" becomes an irrelevant part of the practice. There's a complete ending of that very delusion... and therefore, you don't have to be bothered with it, again.
Okay. Now I feel I understand what you wanted to hint at.

You wanted to say that the reification of "no self" is what is wrong.

Well yes but this holds true for any term, e.g. also for "nibbana", "noble truth" etc.

And if you say "apart from the conventional usage." then I reply "But what else is the application of terms and terminology other than "conventional usage of terms and terminology"?

And how to explain to others the phenomena "I" and "mine" in the context of buddhism other than to negate the conventional truth of "I" and "mine" via applying the expression "no self"?
beeblebrox wrote: When the idea of "self" becomes irrelevant (i.e., when you stop trying to use the idea of a "self" to view things)... what reason could there possibly be to continue with the use of "anatta"?
The reason could be the instruction of others.
beeblebrox wrote: Other than that there is still the idea of a "self" lingering? That, is why one shouldn't try to make up a self... just for the sake of using "anatta."
But if I use the term "horn of a hare" as a simile I still have to refer to the idea of "I" and "mine" or "self" in order to be able to communicate the meaning intended.


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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by ancientbuddhism » Mon May 23, 2011 5:26 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:By this reasoning why not take taṇhā and the entire pathway to dukkha out of the equation? …since this is interrupting your meditation.

Even better still, why don't we just reduce anatta to a strategy and just talk ourselves out of dukkha.
I think you (and TMingyur) missed this... "apart from the conventional usage."

Try to think of it in this way:
Person #1 keeps on saying this for each of the aggregates, "This is not god. This is not god. This is not god... this is not god... this also is not god." (Like a broken record.)

Person #2 replies, "OK... now that we figured that out... why not just dump 'god,' so that we might study these aggregates for what they really are?"

Person #1 says, "No way! Saying that these are 'not god' is a crucial part of the practice..."
The only problem is... "god" is the delusion here. As long as this person #1 continues his "not god" thing, this idea of "god" will continue, forever. We can't do away with "god" or else we won't be able to say, "not god." The person #1 is basically insisting on viewing this practice through the lens of a delusion, and doesn't seem to know it....:
But this is specious reasoning, and again a misunderstanding of the aim of the Buddha’s teaching on anatta. If you wish to argue with the Buddha about the use of this/that is not self in his interrogatory discourses, that is your business.

Yes, ‘Self’ is the delusion here, but the Buddha has not succumbed to delusion by discussing it. He presents an analysis of anatta– and analysis of sakkāya-diṭṭhi & paṭiccasamuppāda – because it is critical to contemplative work. The aim of the challenge ‘This is mine, I am this, this is my ‘self’?’ (etaṁ mama, esohamasmi, eso me attā’ti?) with the sakkāya & the khandhas, is pointing to the actual underlying tendency (anusaya) to reify the khandhas and all within their sensate reach as substantial, as property of a possessor, which results in all of the angst that unrealized expectations will bring.

This should be real-time investigated in practice, not mere conventional usage. If it is, the making of the false from the real – which is what the whole presumption of atta and ahaṃkāramamaṃkā is about – will be known and released.
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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by beeblebrox » Tue May 24, 2011 1:01 am

Anatta is only used to bring a practice to the point where it becomes useful (i.e., aligned with the Dhamma... where the Buddha's teaching is maximized), but "anatta" is still not the point... sakkaya ditthi is only the first fetter.

I don't think that the Buddha ever said "anatta" straight out. (I could be wrong)... Just this: "This is impermanent, which is suffering, and therefore anatta (i.e., these shouldn't be viewed as a self)." This is only a preparation...

When one's understood the point of this practice... his doubt would be gone for good, the second fetter... and the rites are completely seen through, the third fetter... the concept of "anatta" becomes empty, the first fetter.

This person then doesn't waste his time with the idea of a "self" anymore. He's focused on paying attention, letting things go, and then not picking them up again... which means that he's seen Nibbāna.

:anjali:

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Re: What is Wrong with Buddha Nature

Post by Kenshou » Tue May 24, 2011 1:20 am

beeblebrox wrote:, but "anatta" is still not the point... sakkaya ditthi is only the first fetter.
I don't think anyone has tried to claim that anatta is the point. The point is the end of dukkha and anatta is part of the treatment. And the thing is that the underlying tendency towards "I/me/mine" lasts until arahantship is reached, so the concept of anatta is useful all the way to the end.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

"A monk who has attained stream-entry/once-returning/non-returning/an arahant should attend in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self."
Last edited by Kenshou on Tue May 24, 2011 1:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

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