Buddha-nature

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:52 am

muni wrote: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.

:anjali:
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:48 pm

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.


Buddha Nature is not a self, a soul, an atman, MahaBrahma, or anything like that. Though I grant you that some may think that, or that some may indeed incline toward a sort of eternalistic view--this is an incorrect understanding. The Dharmakaya is empty...the Dharmadhatu is empty. But, TMingyur, if all is empty, in the absolute analysis, what need for the "concept" Dharmakaya, the "Truth Body" of the Buddha, the very mind of the Tathagatas, when such a thing by definition cannot be perceived or known except by Buddha? Is that, too, just an expedient teaching?

I'm not sure what you mean by "a conceptual overlay on the concept of emptiness." Do you mean that "Buddha Nature" is the conceptual overlay?
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:27 pm

conebeckham 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.
So just let it be that way. Fright is no conducive basis.


Buddha Nature is not a self, a soul, an atman, MahaBrahma, or anything like that. Though I grant you that some may think that, or that some may indeed incline toward a sort of eternalistic view--this is an incorrect understanding.

The theory that tries to legitimate a concept is one thing but the reason why people are attracted to certain theories is another.


conebeckham wrote:I'm not sure what you mean by "a conceptual overlay on the concept of emptiness." Do you mean that "Buddha Nature" is the conceptual overlay?

Yes. There is a reason for emptiness which is non-affirming negation, but there is no reason for affirming some "nature" "on top of that".



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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Individual » Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:28 pm

Conebeckham and Sherab seem to be very knowledgeable.

My only suggestion is to engage in dialectic rather than debate. Debate is where two opponents to refute one another. Dialectic is where two friends come together to find meaningful truth.

If one of you says, "X," it isn't important to deny that. But rather, ask, "What is the meaning of X? How do you see X? How is X consistent with your other views?"

With this method, you can draw Buddhas out of ordinary people like a sword from its sheath. Perhaps they don't have genuine realization, but at least they say nice things.

And rather than seeing oneself as the master\knower of truth and the other as the fool\ignorant, recognize that we are all just blind men grasping at the elephant. :)
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:51 pm

Frankly, I believe the "truth" cannot be captured in concepts.

Whether one uses the terms "Buddha Nature," or "Emptiness," in the end, it's down to experiental "gnosis" and nothing else.

I'm a Kagyupa, and in our lineage one can find seemingly-divergent views as to how to express an Absolute. You'll notice I'm only quoting regarding definitions of Buddha Nature....if you check out writings of the 9th Karmapa, or the 8th Karmapa, you'll find positions seemingly at odds with those quotes I've provided.

Conceptual, analytical meditation has limits. At some point, meditators must "rest" in unfindability. This is known in all the traditions as "resting in emptiness." Those who look for "mind" also do not find it. Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti both indicate mind is "unborn"--and "nonarising." In the end, "Emptiness"--unless it is directly experienced--is just a conceptual overlay as well. There are potential pitfalls that are associated with this overlay, just as there are with the concept of "Buddha Nature."
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:59 pm

conebeckham wrote:Conceptual, analytical meditation has limits. At some point, meditators must "rest" in unfindability.

I am not talking about meditation. I am talking about making assertions and descriptions, am talking about advocating views expressed through terminology.

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Individual » Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:11 pm

conebeckham wrote:Frankly, I believe the "truth" cannot be captured in concepts.

I don't know if we disagree here, but an analogy maybe:

I would say that truth can be captured, but it's elusive, requiring skill, like hunting a wild animal with a bow: If you shoot enough arrows, will you make a kill? No. If you use enough concepts, will you be truthful? No. So we give up papanca, the monkey-mind, running-horse, the ignorance-eating sankharas. If you have the best bow and arrows in the world (the greatest concepts), but no aim (no wisdom), will you make a kill? No. You need the right bow and the right aim.

You can have good aim (wisdom, gnosis, etc.), but if you don't actually use concepts or try to gather the right ones, of what use are you to anyone?

The path of Hinayana is to simply sit down, giving up, being at peace with your own non-ability: resting in pleasant realizations of notself and impermanence. The path of Mahayana, of Buddhahood, is not simply developing wisdom but also an ability to share it.

The greatest teachers did not rest at all in ideas or non-ideas. They worked very hard to promote certain ideas or causes. :)
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby 5heaps » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:17 am

conebeckham wrote:I'm not sure what you mean by "a conceptual overlay on the concept of emptiness." Do you mean that "Buddha Nature" is the conceptual overlay?
very likely that he does. why? because any system which relies on rangrig and alaya in any way fails to understand that things are established merely through mental labeling. for such people such talk is too much and so they still need to rely on something 'real' to ground them.

obviously madhyamika versions of alaya and rangrig arent as bad as mindonly and sautrantika versions, but it is still something which obstructs real emptiness.

this is just from the intellectual pov.. of course someone studying in a so-called coarser system could easily make more progress than someone in the so-called highest system, and the lama needs to be taken into consideration, and the lineage itself, etc.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:08 am

conebeckham wrote:I'm a Kagyupa, and in our lineage one can find seemingly-divergent views as to how to express an Absolute.

Yes and since you are a Kagyupa you are expressing an emptiness-of- other-view. And this is context of applying the term "buddha nature".
Even to talk about "an Absolute" makes no sense in the sphere of relative truth which is the only sphere available for talking and expressing views. I think that the only legitimate expression in this sphere is "XY cannot be found ultimately" which means by definition "XY is empty". If you however state that "XY is empty" does mean by further definition "XY has buddha nature" and that "XY has buddha nature" stands for "XY cannot be found ultimately" then you have to apply the term "buddha nature" to inanimate phenomena like "stone" too. But if you do not do this consequently and transparently and restrict the application of "buddha nature" to sentient beings then you are actually opening the door for the view of a "self" in the context of the perishing aggregates.


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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:33 am

Not all Kagyupas are "Emptiness of other," and even those who may identify as such may not be of the same pursuasion as, say, Dolpopa.

There are a spectrum of views.

More, later.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:40 am

conebeckham wrote:Not all Kagyupas are "Emptiness of other," and even those who may identify as such may not be of the same pursuasion as, say, Dolpopa.

There are a spectrum of views.

More, later.


May be. In the context of Kagyupa I have only encountered emptiness-of-other-views so far.

I think it is a matter of conceptual and logical "discipline" to stick to the "two-truths-view" but not to overlook that this system of thought actually is also a conventional system and ultimately self-contradictory.
However emptiness-of-other, i.e. the application of the term "buddha nature" restricted to sentient beings, actually is the introduction of a third truth. So in this sense it isn't Madhyamaka at all.

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:25 am

TMingyur wrote:Yes and since you are a Kagyupa you are expressing an emptiness-of- other-view. And this is context of applying the term "buddha nature".

I am stunned.
TMingyur wrote:Even to talk about "an Absolute" makes no sense in the sphere of relative truth which is the only sphere available for talking and expressing views. I think that the only legitimate expression in this sphere is "XY cannot be found ultimately" which means by definition "XY is empty". If you however state that "XY is empty" does mean by further definition "XY has buddha nature" and that "XY has buddha nature" stands for "XY cannot be found ultimately" then you have to apply the term "buddha nature" to inanimate phenomena like "stone" too. But if you do not do this consequently and transparently and restrict the application of "buddha nature" to sentient beings then you are actually opening the door for the view of a "self" in the context of the perishing aggregates.

Am I reading you wrongly or are you confining buddhahood to the realm of the relative where one can say this cause that etc.?
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:31 am

Sherab wrote:Am I reading you wrongly or are you confining buddhahood to the realm of the relative where one can say this cause that etc.?


I am assigning any talk about anything to the relative and in the relative assertions are valid only if grounded on an experiential correlate and if the terms applied comply with convention. Everything beyond is speculation.


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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:39 am

This reasoning is grounded on experiential correlates (if we neglect such terms like "omniscience"):

Is is not possible for omniscience to be produced without causes, because if it were everything could always be omniscient. If things were produced without reliance on something else, they could exist without constraints - there would be no reason why everything could not be omniscient. Therefore since all functional things arise only occasionally, they depend strictly on their causes. Omniscience too is rare because it does not occur at all times and in all places, and everything cannot become omniscient. Therefore it definitely depends on causes and conditions.

Also from among these causes and conditions you should cultivate correct and complete causes. If you put the wrong causes into practice, even if you work hard for a long time, the desired goal cannot be achieved. It will be like milking a [cow's] horn.
Likewise the result will not be produced when all causes are not put into effect. For example, if the seed or any other cause is missing, then the result, a sprout, and so forth will not be produced. Therefore, those who desire a particular result should cultivate its complete and unmistaken causes and conditions.

Kamalashila, Stages of Meditation.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Individual » Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:06 am

If someone wants to believe that prajna-paramita is dependent on a rational understanding of experience or an empirical understanding which merely involves reason, no reason or experience could convince them otherwise. Because if they don't recognize the intuitive aspect to begin with, it wouldn't seem to them that certain assertions are more or less "intuitive"; it either fits with their preconceptions or it doesn't. This is how minds work. They look for ideas that support the self and integrate new ideas with existing self-concept, and reject ideas which would undermine it.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:46 am

Individual wrote:Because if they don't recognize the intuitive aspect to begin with, ...


What's that ... the "intuitive aspect to begin with"?

... Sankhara


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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Individual » Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:52 am

TMingyur wrote:
Individual wrote:Because if they don't recognize the intuitive aspect to begin with, ...


What's that ... the "intuitive aspect to begin with"?

... Sankhara


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Takes one to know one, I guess. :rolling:
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:06 am

Now it is not that I say "there is sankhara" and "here is experience" because "experience" is no different from "sankhara". However since what appears undeniably appears before it is matured into a status which may coalesce with a conventional term this is what is called the experiential correlate valid expressions may be gounded on. And expressions not so grounded are speculations and mere ideas.

So the issue is actually a matter of linguistic validity. Do not be obsessed with "existence"!

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:40 am

5heaps wrote:... any system which relies on rangrig and alaya in any way fails to understand that things are established merely through mental labeling

This is a sweeping statement because it implies that you have understood the different meanings of rangrig and alaya in various systems.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:43 am

TMingyur wrote:
Sherab wrote:Am I reading you wrongly or are you confining buddhahood to the realm of the relative where one can say this cause that etc.?
I am assigning any talk about anything to the relative and in the relative assertions are valid only if grounded on an experiential correlate and if the terms applied comply with convention. Everything beyond is speculation.

Makes me wonder why the Buddha talked about buddhahood, dharmadhatu, "consciousness without surface", "where the elements find no footing" etc. because by your reasoning, the Buddha should not be talking about such things.
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