Buddha-nature

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Individual » Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:25 pm

conebeckham wrote:And in response to Individual's initial post, I came across this from an old "Shenpen Osel" on-line--this should be very helpful..

Original source: http://www.shenpen-osel.org/issue7.pdf
Question: In the Prayer of Mahamudra, by
Rangjung Dorje, it says that beings by nature are
continually buddha. Is there a difference in
explanation from a tantric perspective on this?
Because they seem to be asserting that the
actual buddha is present. Is this way of explaining
that sentient beings have the buddha potential
but not the buddha essence in any way
contradictory to an explanation of the tantric
view that the nature of sentient beings is always
buddha and never changes?
Rinpoche: The important thing here is to distinguish
two different perspectives. From the perspective
of primordial awareness itself, primordial
awareness is never stained. From its own perspective,
it is always completely free of any flaw.
And so from that perspective then, it is unchanging,
and it is the same at the time of the ground,
the path, and the fruition. This is called naturally,
completely pure nirvana, and is explained
as one type of nirvana—naturally, completely
pure nirvana: rangshin namdak nyangende. The
other type of nirvana is called lobur dridral
nyangende, and that means the nirvana that is
free from fleeting adventitious stains, which is,
in other words, the manifestation of actual
enlightenment. This type of nirvana is explained
from the perspective of sentient beings and the
stages of the path. So if you say these two are
the same, according to Shakya Chogden in this
commentary, the problem you run into is that
you are then saying that the cause and the result
are exactly the same thing. That is why they
distinguish between these two types of nirvana
and distinguish between [viewing the question]
from the perspective of primordial awareness
itself, and from the perspective of sentient
beings and the stages of the path.
Also, it is possible that if people thought,
“Well, my nature is buddhahood, so I’m enlightened,”
that would be an arrogant way of thinking.
And so, in order to prevent people from having
that type of belief, which would just be arrogant
[and therefore detrimental to them], it is said, “No,
you are not enlightened yet; you have the potential
to become enlightened, but it is not the same
as saying that you are enlightened.” So it is probably
important that that be done.

:good:

aka "the two truths".

Language is by nature conventional, so any expression of ultimate truth can be subject to infinite skeptical criticism by conventional minds. But conventional minds, if they look inward, could see that this infinite skepticism could be used to apply to their own ideas, to apply universally, and see emptiness. Initially, this can create confusion, the feeling of nihilism, the ground falling out from underneath the mind. :)
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:24 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Now if we compare these (mere) ideas with the effects of cultivating love and/or compassion.

Aren't the effects of such practices something concrete? Direct experience!

What's the use of mere ideas?


Well....what are love and compassion? More than mere ideas?

Well at least there is an experiential correlate. But what is the experiential correlate of ideas of "unconditioned"? What is it other than conditioned illusion?

conebeckham wrote:I also submit to you that the "mere ideas" of Buddha Nature, as outlined in such texts as the Uttaratantrashastra/Ratnagotravibhaga, the Lankavatara Sutra, the SamadhiRaja Sutra, and numerous Tantras ...

Well take those texts and enjoy ... but do not assert anything about it. You do not read poems and then start arguments about the poetic descriptions don't you?

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:55 pm

Well at least there is an experiential correlate. But what is the experiential correlate of ideas of "unconditioned"? What is it other than conditioned illusion?


When one is discussing, one is using ideas and concepts. When one is meditating, the idea is to "experience" rather than conceptualize....this is true, whether we're talking about love, compassion....or emptiness. When one meditates on "emptiness," you initially need to understand, conceptually, what that means....but at a certain point, you realize the "idea" of emptiness is not really the experience of emptiness. It's the same with Buddha Nature.

What is the "experiental correlate" of "Buddha Nature," or the "unconditioned?" I will let Milarepa describe it--as I don't even want to touch it--again, these quotes are from Shenpen Osel's wonderful on-line site http://www.shenpen-osel.org/issue7.pdf

The view is original wisdom which is empty;
Meditation, clear light free of fixation;
Conduct, continual flow without attachment;
Fruition is nakedness stripped of every stain.

This view, the original wisdom which is empty,
Risks getting lost in just being talk and no more.
If certainty which is in touch with what’s meant does not follow,
The words will not manage to free you of clinging to self.
And that’s why definitive certainty means so much.

The meditation, clear light free of fixation,
Risks getting lost in just being settling.
If original wisdom does not emerge from within you,
You might settle steadily but this will not set you free.
But wisdom does not come of dullness and agitation.
And that’s why nonwandering mindfulness means so much.

This conduct, continual flow without attachment,
Risks getting lost in only being a pretense.
If the view and meditation are not included,
The eight worldly dharmas may mix with your yogic pursuits.
And that’s why the freedom from clinging and veils means so much.

Fruition as nakedness stripped of every defect
Risks getting clothed in the garments of attributes.
If delusion is not overcome from its source on the inside,
Your practice may aim very far, but fall very short
And that’s why correcting delusion means so much.


I hope this helps.
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:01 pm

conebeckham wrote:I hope this helps.


Honestly ... this is not my cup of tea.

Different strokes for different folks.

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:07 pm

Honestly ... this is not my cup of tea.

Different strokes for different folks.


Fair enough! :shrug:

Nice to discuss. My own personal "cup of tea" is half-empty.....and half-full! :smile: But all that doesn't really matter...it's the taste of the tea-it's just indescribable!
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:36 am

TMingyur wrote:
Sherab wrote:Buddhanature ... is beyond words and languages.

Obviously it is not.

It would be interesting to see quotes from sutras that support the position that Buddhanature is not beyond words and languages.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:43 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Sherab wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:If buddhahood is unconditioned, can the removal of conditioned things/phenomena mean that the leftover is the unconditioned?
The answer is yes.

If so, the conditioned is one thing and the unconditioned is another. But such a view cannot go with the view that samsara and nirvana are inseparable.
retrofuturist wrote:That is quite probably so, which is why I answered the question you directly put to me with all appropriate caveats.

I did see your caveats. I was merely using your statement to initiate a view of buddhanature that is surprisingly neglected, at least in this forum, but mentioned in the sutras. Sorry about that.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:48 am

5heaps wrote:
Sherab wrote:I think regarding samsara as mere illusions arising as a result of ignorance is probably the closest that one could get to an intellectual understanding of buddhanature.
hmm? the explanations of what it means to be conditioned and unconditioned according to systems which assert rangig and alaya have been under attack for a long time.

its very cool to be able to establish buddhanature intellectually by simply analyzing an ordinary object directly in front of you without having to rely on ranrig and alaya.

you may notice that, in doing such an analysis, you cannot deny the object by relying on hocus pocus (ie. alaya and rangig). you NEED the object to establish its emptiness. we say this is the true intent of Arya Nagarjuna etc

I don't understand your post. It seems to me you are imputing concepts that I have not even raised. Even if I did imply stuff like rangrig and alaya, I think you are imputing that your understanding of rangrig and alaya is the understanding that everyone has.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:06 am

You have to be careful using terms like "rangrig," and "alaya," as well...they mean different things in different contexts. "Self-Aware Mind," in Sutras means something different in Mahamudra traditions, for example, and Alaya can mean different things as well...it's not merely the Alayavijnana of the Cittamatrins, for example.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:11 am

muni wrote:
Sherab wrote:I think regarding samsara as mere illusions arising as a result of ignorance is probably the closest that one could get to an intellectual understanding of buddhanature.

One can try to see clarity of empty water by turning (mud) around in the lake with a stick. Limitations by discursive thoughts about illusory interdependent arising and emptiness; the boat of analysis subside in nature.
That you mean?
*Perfect knowing-Primordial goodness*

From a practice approach, yes. But it does not help in getting an intellectual understanding of the "purity" of "mud", the inseparability of samsara and nirvana.

Perhaps, one way to look at the inseparability of samsara and nirvana is to think of ignorance and enlightenment as being mutually exclusive but intermediated by a one-way switch.

While the switch in on ignorance, we experience samsara. When the switch flipped to enlightenment, we experience nirvana. The ultimate aim of all Dharma practices is to set up the conditions for the switch to flip. When the switch does flip, all qualities of Buddhahood are spontaneously present.

If the switch is on ignorance, we say that buddhanature is inherent in sentient beings. When the switch is flipped to enligtenment, we cannot say we attained anything.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby 5heaps » Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:34 am

Sherab wrote:Even if I did imply stuff like rangrig and alaya, I think you are imputing that your understanding of rangrig and alaya is the understanding that everyone has.
what i am saying is that there are positions for whom the mere positing of an alaya or a rangrig on any level is a sign of findable existence.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:09 am

5heaps wrote:
Sherab wrote:Even if I did imply stuff like rangrig and alaya, I think you are imputing that your understanding of rangrig and alaya is the understanding that everyone has.
what i am saying is that there are positions for whom the mere positing of an alaya or a rangrig on any level is a sign of findable existence.

As suspected, your understanding of alaya and rangrig is not how I understand it.
Last edited by Sherab on Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Individual » Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:25 am

Ranrig is just a stepping stone, not the ultimate. That's probably never been said before (and I don't mean to contradict those who say otherwise), but I say it now. Here is why:

As I see it, the Zen approach is to abolish all concepts and thoughts. The Tibetan approach seems to be to generate concepts and visualizations faster and with greater complexity than the self can generate them. The result is the same.

Many years from now, your dharmic descendents might think of alaya and ranrig as simply conventional things, and there are new terms used to describe "ultimate", because the old terms were tainted by intellect, tainted by cultural biases, which establish our personal connotations. These words cease to be pure, but are tainted by intellectual traditions and customs, by conditioned thinking. Hence Mahayana's emergence and Vajrayana's emergence. Whenever people use the old terms, they are burdened with all the baggage that comes with them. Stuff like dzogchen (for the moment) is "new", fresh; so our minds can approach these concepts without any false preconceptions. The Zen approach is to create the same state of mind but instead by regarding all words and thoughts as foolish and unnecessary.

If you understand the state of mind beyond the words, the means by which the two approaches are congruent is apparent and there is no reason to argue, or refute one another. They both involve paradoxical thing, which confounds the average intellect (even among the most highly intelligent of humans), in order to encourage us to examine things more clearly and not take knowledge and consciousness for granted because "we already know" what it's all about.

And many of the followers of both schools seem to think that it is genuine wisdom to merely imitate the terms and ideas used, imitate their arrangement, and contradict others on the basis of their own unenlightened inferences.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Individual » Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:41 am

Individual wrote:As I see it, the Zen approach is to abolish all concepts and thoughts. The Tibetan approach seems to be to generate concepts and visualizations faster and with greater complexity than the self can generate them.

To be clear, this is just a generalization. The local Zen monk where I live seems to use his own specific language in describing things. It's the same teachings, but different metaphors and terms used. Same basic idea.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby 5heaps » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:03 am

Individual wrote:If you understand the state of mind beyond the words, the means by which the two approaches are congruent is apparent and there is no reason to argue, or refute one another.
cows are beyond words. its not something meaningful.

the reason to use words is to learn to stop ignorance. if we dont know what emptiness is empty of intellectually, how could we stop constantly active misapprehension
Sherab wrote:As suspected, your understanding of alaya and rangrig is not how I understand it.
not everything exists through mere imputation since there are things that have the power to appear to rangrig. particularly the pure things in the world beyond the 4 extreme.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:07 am

I feel that Tsongkhapa and Candrakirti got it right: The concept of buddha nature is a means for those with inclinations towards "soul", a means for those getting frightened when hearing of their own emptiness. Because otherwise there would be no need for a conceptual overlay on the concept of emptiness.
So just let it be that way. Fright is no conducive basis.

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Individual » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:23 am

5heaps wrote:
Individual wrote:If you understand the state of mind beyond the words, the means by which the two approaches are congruent is apparent and there is no reason to argue, or refute one another.
cows are beyond words.

Mu. :)

From Bodhidharma's Bloodstream Sermon:
Beyond this mind you'll never find another Buddha. To search for enlightenment or nirvana beyond this mind is impossible. The reality of your own self-nature the absence of cause and effect, is what's meant by mind. Your mind is nirvana. You might think you can find a Buddha or enlightenment somewhere beyond the mind, but such a place doesn't exist.


From Sayings of Lin-Chi
According to my view, we are no different from Shakyamuni Buddha. Today, in your various activities, what do you lack? The spiritual light coursing through your six senses has never been interrupted. If you can see in this way, you will simply be free of burdens all your life...

...

The pure light of your mind in a single moment of thought is the reality-body Buddha in your own house. The nondiscriminatory light of your mind in a single moment of thought is the reward-body Buddha in your own house. The nondifferentiated light of your mind in a single moment of thought is the projection-body Buddha in your own house. These three kinds of embodiment are none other than the person who is listening to the teaching right here and now, but it is only by not seeking outwardly that one has these effective functions.


From the Guhyagarbha Tantra:
The mind itself is the perfect Buddha;
Do not search for the Buddha anywhere else.

Would like to know the full context of that last quote, but I can't read Tibetan and don't have access to that text physically. :)
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:29 am

TMingyur wrote:I feel that Tsongkhapa and Candrakirti got it right: The concept of buddha nature is a means for those with inclinations towards "soul", a means for those getting frightened when hearing of their own emptiness. Because otherwise there would be no need for a conceptual overlay on the concept of emptiness.

Yes, that was what I was taught too. So I asked a geshe lharampa, why was it taught that way? He said that because it was said so in the sutras. So I checked up the sutras myself. Lo and behold, it seemed to me that the sutras were misinterpreted. And the rest is history.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:33 am

5heaps wrote:
Sherab wrote:As suspected, your understanding of alaya and rangrig is not how I understand it.
not everything exists through mere imputation since there are things that have the power to appear to rangrig. particularly the pure things in the world beyond the 4 extreme.

Huh?
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby muni » Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:05 am

[quote="Sherab"]
From a practice approach, yes. But it does not help in getting an intellectual understanding of the "purity" of "mud", the inseparability of samsara and nirvana.
quote]

Thank you. I read your post with care. Concepts samsara nirvana. Then what arise in vision is only pure or inpure through own ignorance. All projections, manifestations are seen as clarity when own state is clarity. Then no talk of ignorance or knowing.

Limitations of discursivity or clinging to a state like emptiness no help by that.
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