Dan74 wrote:Many Mahayana and Theravada masters when they talk about the self, the mind, the Unborn, etc etc don't seem to mean something personal, some unchanging essence of an individual, but rather the unconditioned uncaused undisturbed is-ness that is all-pervading and immanent in all ever-changing phenomena. This is-ness, this permanent radiant perfect self is no-self in that it is entirely non-personal, not something to possess or attain, but rather what manifests when the obscurations/defilements/delusion are seen through for the mirages that they are and when the clinging and the identifications are let gone of.
But it is not what the suttas teach, and it is language that is all too easily misunderstood.
I can see some parallels in the suttas, but I am not too fussed either way. I would be worried if I saw a contradiction but whether due to my bias or because there isn't any, I am not worried. Misunderstood, yes, all sorts of aspects of the Dhamma can and do get misunderstood.
alan wrote:Plus, Dan, you used three negatives in a sentence trying to prove an assertion. That never works.
Well spotted! But three negatives should make a positive, no?
Although I was not out to prove any assertions!
Dan74 wrote:It is in fact nothing but a description of nibbana and an encouragement to realize it here and now because it is nowhere else.
It's not a description of nibbāna.
Dan wrote:Why not? What is it a description of then?
Ñāṇa wrote:Nibbāna means extinguishment and refers to the elimination of passion, aggression, and delusion. The same meaning can be found in Mahāyāna sources.
Right and how does this support your point?
Dan74 wrote:There is no concept of transcendent self-nature in Mahayana and I am surprised that a learned person like yourself would even posit such a straw-man.
Well, you're the one who said there is a "self that is affirmed."
Did I? I'm lost now.
Dan74 wrote:Transcend what? Not even delusion is transcended but seen through as a mirage that it is.
Actually, even in the Mahāyāna systems delusion has to be eliminated. There is no fruition of buddhahood without such elimination.
Indeed. But this elimination is by seeing through its empty dependently arisen nature. In other words is a mirage (cf Sutra of Complete Enlightenment).
Dan74 wrote:As for innate self-nature, this is not there either, why would it be innate? This is Emerson, not Mahayana.
Here, the reference was to innate (connate, co-emergent) awareness (i.e. sahajajñāna) that is always present in the mental continuum, and related ideas from tathāgatagarbha sources.
Dan74 wrote:So I am still left wondering if what is being refuted has any bearing on what appears to be affirmed. All these seeming affirmations are provisional after all and are refuted when appropriate.
Yes, there's a lot that could be said on this subject (but this forum isn't the proper place for it). At any rate, the main Indian Mahāyāna versions of Buddhist hermeneutics treat negations as definitive and affirmations as conventional and provisional.
Seeing that this thread is in Open Dhamma and it touches on the concept that are common in Mahayana I thought a clarification of what was it that was being asserted and what was it that was being denied would help. But in any case negations at least as far as non-abiding is fundamental as far as I have been taught.
That said I don't think that in our rush to distinguish ourselves from the Hindus we should jump on teachings which describe the liberation in terms like the ones I mentioned. We do not seek atman, nor do we seek to rest in any such state. Liberation from delusion is common to all schools.
Chownah - I completely agree - to conceptualize a doctrine of self is a pretty futile effort, IMO. And I don't think any schools do this, but I could be wrong.