Buddha-nature

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:49 am

Sherab wrote:
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.


Who is in a position to say what the Buddha should do and what he should not do?
In the Buddha's teachings similes and metaphors are abundant.

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby 5heaps » Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:53 am

Sherab wrote:
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.
if you dont want to take it as a statement from me take it as a statement from Tsongkhapa or some other famous scholar-yogi who says the same thing. for example the current Dalai Lama

furthermore yes, part of gelug education just like at the time of nalanda is to study and understand the lower schools very well. this is because the lower schools function like rungs on a ladder removing increasingly subtler levels of ignorance
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:04 am

5heaps wrote:if you dont want to take it as a statement from me take it as a statement from Tsongkhapa or some other famous scholar-yogi who says the same thing. for example the current Dalai Lama

Tsongkhapa was very specific as to whom he was targeting. The Dalai Lama is always careful with the context in which a term is used.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:09 am

TMingyur wrote:
Sherab wrote:
TMingyur wrote: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.


Who is in a position to say what the Buddha should do and what he should not do?
In the Buddha's teachings similes and metaphors are abundant.

Kind regards

Huh?
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:22 pm

This thread is about Buddha Nature.

As can be seen, there are various positions regarding whether Buddha Nature is an expedient or an absolute. Whether it is pedagogical, or ontological. Whether it is reconcilable with Madhyamika and with Sunyata (emptiness).

But let's talk about emptiness. As has been said, all discussions about the absolute are by nature expedient. It is clear that the absolute--Dharmakaya, Buddhahood, the Dharmadhatu--is beyond the limits of language. Madhyamika, which is not a provisional truth, teaches that all conditioned phenomena have no existence. All phenomena are empty. But there is no such "thing" as emptiness. In fact, the emptiness of the phenomenon and the phenomenon itself are dependent on each other. There is no emptiness apart from phenomena. As the Heart Sutra says, "Form is emptiness; emptiness is form."
Until one reaches the First Bodhisattva level, at least, it's said one merely has a conceptual emptiness. Direct experience of emptiness occurs at very high levels, and, until very close to Buddhahood, only in meditation sessions--not during post-meditation. Emptiness is a non-affirming negation-- so, from a conventional POV (which is, as noted, all we can talk about), when we have an understanding of Emptiness, we view the integral "identity" of phenomena and their appearance as nondual. But this is a conceptual nonduality--we can say "emptiness primordially coemergent with appearance." From the POV of "views," this is a very powerful tool, as it lessens attachment at very early stages of understanding, and allows one to cut through elaboration as one progresses on the Paths. This tool is meant to be used, not as a device or stance for "winning arguments" per se, but as a tool for meditators. A means of practice. After all, even if one understands emptiness, one is still left with conventional appearances, dependent arising, the law of karma, and mundane cause and effect--one can say "it's not that," "There is no existence," etc., but the important thing is to train one's mind in nonattachment - to phenomena, which includes "external" objects, but also to "internal" concepts and thoughts themselves--during meditation, and to "view all existence as illusory" in post-meditation.

Now, Buddha Nature.........I'll be back to discuss.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:19 pm

The teacher Shang-na-Chung said, "Even though I asked for instructions from the Great Elder [Atisha], he said nothing except: 'Renounce the world; cultivate the spirit of enlightenment'". Upon hearing this, Geshe Drom-dön-ba was embarassed for him and said, "You received the Great Elder's ultimate instruction!"
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:44 pm

LRCM?
Que?


Anyway.....regarding Buddha Nature....

As I noted, there are various views regarding whether Buddha Nature is an existent, an ultimate, --or whether it is a potentiality, or an expedient teaching. If you go back and read the quotes from Rangjung Dorje, 3rd Karmapa, you can see that his position is that the Tathagatagarbha, Buddha Nature, is the Absolute, Unconditioned, True Nature. It is that which is possessed by all sentient beings, and that which, when purified of incidental stains, is the Dharmakaya, the Truth Body of the Buddhas. This is, broadly speaking, the basic view of many Kagyupas, and of many others as well..though there are fine points where various masters differ.

The Gelukpas, by contrast, feel that the teachings of Buddha Nature are provisional, that there is potentiality, but no inherent existent "thing" --and that such teachings serve for those who are, as TMingyur, outlined, "Scared of emptiness." Galtsab Je and later Gelukpas, in particular, indicated this. For them, Emptiness, as Absolute, is the very reason why such things as the Buddha Bodies and the signs, qualities, and so on can manifest, provided the defilements are purified and the store of merit is "completed."
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:58 pm

Now....the IDEA of Buddha Nature is a thought, and nothing more. It is a concept--and empty of existence. See the 3rd Karmapa, again, earlier in this thread. Any "IDEA" we may have of Buddha Nature is just that.....
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:57 pm

...but so is any idea we may have of Emptiness.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:55 am

conebeckham wrote:Now....the IDEA of Buddha Nature is a thought, and nothing more. It is a concept--and empty of existence. See the 3rd Karmapa, again, earlier in this thread. Any "IDEA" we may have of Buddha Nature is just that.....


conebeckham wrote:...but so is any idea we may have of Emptiness.



Well ... what I wanted to stress with my elaborations above is the question whether there is an experiential correlate.

Although the term "emptiness" gets conceptual meaning through definition/elaboration only it is applied to both animate and inanimate phenomena.
And the question is: Is there an experiential correlate in the context of animate phenomena (sentient beings) or is it a mere idea?
There seems to be an experiential correlate in the context of sentient beings having as objects of investigation either themselves or inanimate phenomena. There is a correlate which is different from any other correlate that can be "known" by humans and that entails coalescence with conventional terms other than "emptiness". That is: the correlate of "emptiness" is unique and therefore the application of the term "emptiness" is logically legitimated.


And what is the case with the term "buddha nature"? Is there an experiential correlate that is unique? Or has it just arisen due to the fact that the unique experiential correlate of "emptiness" can only arise in the context of there being "hearbeat, warmth and sentience"? If the idea "buddha nature" has only arisen due to the fact that the experience of the correlate of "emptiness" is embedded in an environment of "hearbeat, warmth and sentience" then "buddha nature" is not unique but the result of a mixture of different correlates. And if the application of the term "buddha nature" is restricted to sentient beings it is "inherently" self-referring wheras emptiness is not so restricted but is "open" in that its correlate arises also when it refers to non-sentient objects. "Emptiness" is not self-referring at all.


Just to be sure:
I am focusing on the didactical and logical aspects of the linguistic terms "emptiness" and "buddha nature".

I am trying to delineate an approach which is an actual buddhist approach.

It is not about who is right or wrong!

It is not about what does and what does not exist!
Once you have accepted that the (mind) objects the concepts are imputed to do not inherently exist the only thing in the context of conventional terms and terminology that remains to do is to ask whether there are experiential correlates that legitimate the application of terms.



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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Individual » Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:31 pm

TMingyur wrote:Who is in a position to say what the Buddha should do and what he should not do?
In the Buddha's teachings similes and metaphors are abundant.

What do you mean by "who"?
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:50 pm

Please consider the context.

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Individual » Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:34 pm

TMingyur wrote:Please consider the context.

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Context with regard to what?
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:16 pm

Individual wrote:
TMingyur wrote:Please consider the context.

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Context with regard to what?


See first post on this page above.

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:03 am

TMingyur wrote:And if the application of the term "buddha nature" is restricted to sentient beings it is "inherently" self-referring wheras emptiness is not so restricted but is "open" in that its correlate arises also when it refers to non-sentient objects. "Emptiness" is not self-referring at all.

Using your terminology, enlightenment must involve at least two correlates, sentience and emptiness. Otherwise, if emptiness itself is a necessary and sufficient condition, then all non-sentient objects can attain enlightenment. So I am not sure what is the significance that you are pointing to as regards your idea that "emptiness is not self-referring".
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:11 pm

Sherab wrote:
TMingyur wrote:And if the application of the term "buddha nature" is restricted to sentient beings it is "inherently" self-referring wheras emptiness is not so restricted but is "open" in that its correlate arises also when it refers to non-sentient objects. "Emptiness" is not self-referring at all.

Using your terminology, enlightenment must involve at least two correlates, sentience and emptiness. Otherwise, if emptiness itself is a necessary and sufficient condition, then all non-sentient objects can attain enlightenment. So I am not sure what is the significance that you are pointing to as regards your idea that "emptiness is not self-referring".

The significance is
1. There are correlates of the terms "sentience" and "emptiness"
2. "sentience" itself is empty of "I" and "mine" in contrast to emptiness there is no unique correlate, but a mixture of different correlates. It is sankhara and/or the other aggregates, conditioned, impermanent, impure ...

And yes, "stones" are not asserted to be able to attain enlightenment.

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:22 pm

I'm not following completely...

But I think Emptiness is, in a sense, "self-referring" as well. Whether we discuss the Emptiness of Self, or the Emptiness of Phenomena, in either case, there is no Emptiness other than that which is either cognized conceptually by sentient beings or "known directly" by Bodhisattvas and Buddhas. In fact, without sentience I don't think emptiness "exists."
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:10 pm

Well ... may be a case of "feeling terms" ... "feeling language" and the effects it causes ... don't know

"buddha nature" for me always has had the connotation of "self", "constraint" ... wheras "emptiness" refers to "openness", no clinging ... not even to the concept "buddha" ... groundlessness (in a positive sense) ... no frame of reference at all ... neither "self", nor "other", nor "sentience", nor "inanimate" ... no limitations at all ... but not at all nihilistic :)


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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:59 pm

I think I agree and understand what you're saying--I think.

I don't see "Emptiness" as nihilistic either. The understanding (or, even, the experience) that conditioned phenomena, and also the mental consciousness that cognizes, are unconstrained, unlimited, free from reference and beyond elaboration is a very positive thing, in my view. But I do think some miscontrue Emptiness and tend toward a nihilistic position. (Some people, also, tend toward an Eternalist position with Emptiness, though that should be self-correcting, if you know what I mean....)

But "knowing" itself, perception, cognition, even mere sentience, in short all activities of consiousness have some sort of "luminous" quality that, we can't really say, is a "mere absence." It's this luminous empty awareness that is Buddha Nature. And, of course, the minute we talk about it, there's the tendency to "reify" it, or, even worse, to equate it with a "Self" or "atman" or "soul" or whatnot. It is none of those things, though. There's this bifurcation between "being" and "knowing" which, maybe, can't really be bridged.....???
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:45 am

TMingyur wrote:
Sherab wrote:Using your terminology, enlightenment must involve at least two correlates, sentience and emptiness. Otherwise, if emptiness itself is a necessary and sufficient condition, then all non-sentient objects can attain enlightenment. So I am not sure what is the significance that you are pointing to as regards your idea that "emptiness is not self-referring".

The significance is
1. There are correlates of the terms "sentience" and "emptiness"
2. "sentience" itself is empty of "I" and "mine" in contrast to emptiness there is no unique correlate, but a mixture of different correlates. It is sankhara and/or the other aggregates, conditioned, impermanent, impure ...

I still don't get the significance of your point. As I mentioned earlier, enlightenment is correlated with sentience at least. Remove sentience and emptiness becomes irrelevant. When emptiness becomes irrelevant, your point becomes irrelevant. That's how my reasoning goes.

If you can show me that with your point, sentience and therefore by implication, buddhanature, can be ignored, then that is something interesting to discuss.
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