Buddha-nature

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:46 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Sherab 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.

Here's a quote from the Samdhinirmocana sutra:
The Bodhisattva Gambhlrarthasamdhinirmocana answered the Bodhisattva Vidhivatpariprcchaka and said: "Good son, in sum, all things are of two kinds, conditioned and unconditioned. Herein conditioned things are neither conditioned nor unconditioned, and unconditioned things are neither unconditioned nor conditioned."
The Bodhisattva Vidhivatpariprcchaka again questioned the Bodhisattva Gambhlrarthasamdhinirmocana and said: "Son of the Victor, what does it mean to say that conditioned things are neither conditioned nor unconditioned or that unconditioned things are neither unconditioned nor conditioned?" Gambhlrarthasamdhinirmocana addressed the Bodhisattva Vidhivatpariprcchaka and said: "Good son, the term 'conditioned' is a provisional word invented by the First Teacher. Now, if it is a provisional word invented by the First Teacher, then it is a verbal expression apprehended by imagination. And if it is a verbal expression apprehended by imagination, then, in the final analysis, such an imagined description does not validate a real thing. Therefore, the conditioned does not exist. Good son, the term 'unconditioned' is also invented from language [and it also validates nothing real].
"Furthermore, besides the conditioned and the unconditioned, any other expression that exists in language is the same. But, it might be objected, is it not true that there are no expressions without some [corresponding] reality? What, then, is the reality here? I would reply that it is that reality apart from language and realized in the perfect awakening of the saints through their holy wisdom and insight apart from all names and words. It is because they desire to lead others to realize perfect awakening that they provisionally establish [such expressions] as 'the conditioned' as verbal descriptions.

The other usual way to look at Buddhanature is to say that it is a potential. This then implies that Buddhahood is something to be developed. But this contradicts the Buddha's teaching where in attaining Buddhahood, nothing is attained.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:00 am

I recommend Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso's book Buddha Nature published by Snow Lion:

http://www.snowlionpub.com/search_proce ... e&submit=1

Here is an excerpt from an interview/book review:
"Recognize that all the beings' flaws are unreal-mere confused and impermanent appearances, because actually the Buddha Nature is originally perfect. It is empty of the separable, which are the fleeting stains, but not empty of the inseparable, which are the unsurpassable qualities. How is this possible? Because the stains of confusion are not intrinsic to the essence of mind, so they can be removed, whereas the qualities of enlightenment are the nature of mind, so they cannot be removed. The Heart of Wisdom Sutra said there are no stains and no freedom from stains. This can be seen through the example of dreams: if you dream that you are dirty and then take a bath, you later realize that because it was a dream, there never were any stains; therefore there was no true removal of stains."
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:06 am

Here is some more quotation, this time from Rangjung Dorje's Treatise on Buddha Nature, found here:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/10490189/Trangu-Rinpoche-on-Buddha-Nature-of-the-Third-Karmapa

“Phenomena” are explained to be
Samsara and nirvana appearing as a duality.
This is named “the ground of the latencies of ignorance.”
The movement of mental events, correct thoughts
And incorrect thoughts are the cause of that arising (of samsara and nirvana).
The condition for their causes is taught to be the alaya (the universal ground).

The “location” is the Buddha nature.
Incorrect conceptualisation is completely located within the mind’s purity.
This purity that exists in that way
Exists, but is not seen due to ignorant conceptualisation.
Therefore, there is samsara.
If they are dispelled, there is nirvana,
Which is termed “the end.”

“Beginning” and “end” are dependent upon conceptualisation.
Mental events are like winds
That cause karma and kleshas to arise.
The (karma and kleshas) manifest the skandhas, dhatus,
Ayatanas, and all the phenomena of dualistic appearances.
Someone who strives for and discards these (appearances) is deluded.
What can be negated through rejecting your own projections?
What can be gained by acquiring your own projections?
Isn’t this belief in duality a fraud?

Though this understanding is taught as a remedy,
The understanding of non-duality is not truth.
It is not conception of non-conceptuality.
The understanding of emptiness gained through breaking down forms and so on,
Isn’t it itself a delusion?
But it is taught so that attachment to things as real will cease.

There isn’t anything that is either real or false.
The wise have said that everything is like the moon’s reflection on water.
The “ordinary mind” is called
The “dharmadhatu” and “the Buddha nature.”
The enlightened cannot improve it.
Unenlightened beings cannot corrupt it.
It is described by many names,
But its meaning cannot be known through verbal expression.

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:48 pm

TMingyur wrote:
Since nirvana does not "happen" without causes and conditions (8fold path) it seems to be conditioned which does not exclude that the cessation is permanent one it has happened.


According to my tradition, Nirvana itself is not conditioned.
The paths, practices, etc., are for the purpose of removing stains--it is the incidental stains which are impermanent.

It's like a dusty mirror--when one cleans the mirror, one has not created the mirror, one has just removed that which has obscured the mirror. The mirror itself does not change in any way.

As Rangjung Dorje, the Third Karmapa, says:
The three phases of impurity, both purity and impurity,
And of complete purity are respectively:
(The phases) of beings, Bodhisattvas, and the Tathagatas.
Though this is what is said, Buddhahood is not newly created.
As it was before, it is the same after.
It is the changeless Buddha nature.
The “change” is becoming free of the stains.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Individual » Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:16 pm

A suggestion for everyone:

Instead of focusing on one specific idea of nirvana or unconditioned, why not pick the one approach that seems to be most useful to its understanding? What's useful for you isn't necessarily best for everyone.

Then leave here and use that. Once you think you've realized it, then you can come back and tell us what it really is.

Just because this or that tradition says it's this or that is irrelevant. Same with teachers, Buddhist texts, and logic.

Now, I have to answer a question you might ask: "Individual, did YOU realize it? And if not, how do YOU talk about it?"

I don't know anything about Buddha-nature or Nirvana. I just say what I think seems useful. :)
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:46 pm

Individual wrote:I just say what I think seems useful. :)


I just say what I think is obvious: What is not at all times and in all places must be conditioned.

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:55 pm

What is beyond time and place may be unconditioned.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Sherab » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:55 am

Buddhanature should be understood as neither conditioned nor unconditioned as it is beyond words and languages. Not having realized the wisdom of supreme awakening, 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.

From the Samdhinirmocana sutra:
".. the subtlety and profundity of the truth of ultimate meaning, … transcend being characterized as either identical with or different from conditioned states of being …

…if the descriptive marks of the truth of ultimate meaning were not different from conditioned states of being at all, then at this very moment all common worldlings would have already gained insight into truth….

… if the descriptive marks of ultimate meaning were entirely different from the marks of conditioned states of being, then those who have already gained insight into truth would not have expunged images of conditioned states of being. And if they had not expunged images of conditioned states of being, then they would not have attained liberation from bondage to those images. Not being liberated from those images, they would not be freed from bondage to their gross weaknesses. Not being freed from bondage to gross weaknesses, those who have gained insight into truth would have been unable to attain the quiescent cessation of supreme skill or full, perfect awakening…."
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:19 am

conebeckham wrote:What is beyond time and place may be unconditioned.


This statement is conditioned by time and place. To what does it refer?

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:20 am

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

Obviously it is not.

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:29 am

Why don't we talk about "God"?
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby Individual » Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:55 am

Because in this life, in this realm, we are not theists and do not need to be.

We also don't need to delight in contradicting others when at all possible.
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:09 am

Individual wrote:Because in this life, in this realm, we are not theists and do not need to be.



The reason is just the preference of a different (mere) idea.


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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:20 am

That is the reason why people are talking about an alleged "ineffable", make conditioned statements about an alleged "unconditioned" and fabricate concepts about "absolutes".

It is just clinging to (mere) ideas.

What is so attractive about such kind of ideas?

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby ground » Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:32 am

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?

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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:06 am

Greetings Sherab,

Sherab wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:
Sherab 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.

That is quite probably so, which is why I answered the question you directly put to me with all appropriate caveats.

I hope you are well.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Live in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes

Dhamma Wheel (Theravada forum) * Here Comes Trouble
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby 5heaps » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:42 am

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
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby muni » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:45 pm

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*
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:52 pm

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?

I'm in agreement that direct experience is of a different "flavor" than so-called "mere ideas" or discussions/theories/philosophical constructs. I submit to you that Mahamudra practice, and Dzokchen practice, are concerned with direct experience. 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 (though we're on a "Mahayana Thread," my understanding is that Tantras are included in the Mahayana), as well as in the Third Karmapa's works, quoted above, are just as "useful" as the ideas of "love" and "compassion."
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Re: Buddha-nature

Postby conebeckham » Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:07 pm

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.
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