Potential

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Potential

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:02 am

Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

Our fundamental nature--what we term 'the buddha nature', the very nature of our mind, is inherently present within us as a natural attribute. This mind of ours, the subject at hand, has been going on throughout beginningless time, and so has the more subtle nature of that mind. On the basis of the continuity of that subtle nature of our mind rests the capacity we have to attain enlightenment. This potential is what we call 'the seed of buddhahood', 'buddha nature', 'the fundamental nature', or 'tathagatagarbha'.

We all have this buddha nature, each and every one of us. For example, this beautiful statue of Lord Buddha here, in the presence of which we are now sitting, is a representation that honours someone who attained buddhahood. He awakened into that state of enlightenment because his nature was the buddha nature. Ours is as well, and just as the Buddha attained enlightenment in the past, so in the future we can become buddhas too.

...In any case, there dwells within us all this potential which allows us to awaken into buddhahood and attain omniscience. The empowerment process draws that potential out, and allows it to express itself more fully. When an empowerment is conferred on you, it is the nature of your mind--the buddha nature--that provides a basis upon which the empowerment can ripen you. Through the empowerment, you are empowered into the essence of the buddhas of the five families. In particular, you are 'ripened' within that particular family through which it is your personal predisposition to attain buddhahood. (p.29)

--from Dzogchen: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, translated by Thupten Jinpa and Richard Barron, Foreword by Sogyal Rinpoche, edited by Patrick Gaffney, published by Snow Lion Publications
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Re: Potential

Postby Heruka » Sun Feb 27, 2011 7:59 am

"is inherently present within us as a natural attribute"
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Re: Potential

Postby Heruka » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:01 am

what is this nature that is inherent?
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Re: Potential

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:50 am

The capacity for enlightenment.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Potential

Postby KwanSeum » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:58 am

Heruka wrote:what is this nature that is inherent?
That, my friend, would make a good Hwandu. Good luck.
'Accepting things as they are' and striving to improve them is living the Dharma while causing or accepting suffering because 'that's the way things are' is Nihilism.
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Re: Potential

Postby ground » Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:13 pm

Heruka wrote:"is inherently present within us as a natural attribute"
Heruka wrote:what is this nature that is inherent?

Whatever fancy name you are going to apply you won't find such an inherently present {fancy name}.


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Re: Potential

Postby Blue Garuda » Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:32 pm

Immeasurables.

Is my capacity measurable by my potentiometer in orde to arrive at my resistence to the current ? LOL :)

Aside from the nature and nurture argument of aoens, as the potential and capacity of any individual are unable to be measured (or to exist inherently as TM wrote) I don't really find them useful. This means that I can't accept the conclusion that each person may only progress as far along the path as his/her capacity will allow, as the premise is faulty. Interesting, but not useful. ;)

Sure, karma has consequences, but slapping a label on a being's attributes and assuming they are capable of inherently being indicated as greater or lesser is to say they are measureable, just becuase we give those qualities a name. Simpler to say they are immeasurables and can't be subject to analysis in that way.
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Re: Potential

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:05 pm

TMingyur wrote:Whatever fancy name you are going to apply you won't find such an inherently present {fancy name}.
So you don't believe that all sentient beings have the inherent potential to achieve enlightenment? Maybe it's just present in some (lucky few) sentient beings? In none?
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Potential

Postby ground » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:17 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
TMingyur wrote:Whatever fancy name you are going to apply you won't find such an inherently present {fancy name}.
So you don't believe that all sentient beings have the inherent potential to achieve enlightenment? Maybe it's just present in some (lucky few) sentient beings? In none?
:namaste:


I think that all beings have the potential to ascend and to descend in a multitude of contexts.

So one may speak of "ascent nature" or "descent nature" or "ascent-descent nature" if one likes.

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Re: Potential

Postby Blue Garuda » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:26 pm

TMingyur wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
TMingyur wrote:Whatever fancy name you are going to apply you won't find such an inherently present {fancy name}.
So you don't believe that all sentient beings have the inherent potential to achieve enlightenment? Maybe it's just present in some (lucky few) sentient beings? In none?
:namaste:


I think that all beings have the potential to ascend and to descend in a multitude of contexts.

So one may speak of "ascent nature" or "descent nature" or "ascent-descent nature" if one likes.

Kind regards


A 'nature' is an attribute, and extant. It is not a potential.

Potential includes the possibility of both ascent and descent, so where is the idea of that potential becoming fixed derived from?

Surely every new act alters that potential .
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Re: Potential

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:34 pm

Yeshe wrote:A 'nature' is an attribute, and extant. It is not a potential.

Potential includes the possibility of both ascent and descent, so where is the idea of that potential becoming fixed derived from?

Surely every new act alters that potential .
I am going to have to (kindda) disagree with you here Yeshe (shock! horror!). I think one can have an inherent potential/capacity and I believe the tathagatagarbha concept helps overcome the fixed/deterministic qualities found in many religions that "excuse" suffering and actions that lead to suffering, due to a)their predetermined fate (in Hinduism for example) or b)a lack of inherent positive characteristics (the original sin of Christianity). The beauty of the tathagatagarbha is that even if one commits horrendous acts the potential/capacity to perform positive acts or reach enlightenment still exists. Nobody is condemned forever!
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Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Potential

Postby Blue Garuda » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:47 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Yeshe wrote:A 'nature' is an attribute, and extant. It is not a potential.

Potential includes the possibility of both ascent and descent, so where is the idea of that potential becoming fixed derived from?

Surely every new act alters that potential .
I am going to have to (kindda) disagree with you here Yeshe (shock! horror!). I think one can have an inherent potential/capacity and I believe the tathagatagarbha concept helps overcome the fixed/deterministic qualities found in many religions that "excuse" suffering and the actions of other that lead to suffering due to their predetermined fate (in Hinduism for example) or lack of inherent positive characteristics (the original sin of Christianity). The beauty of the tahagatagarbha is that even if one commits horrendous acts the potential/capacity to perform positive acts or reach enlightenment still exists. Nobody is condemned forever!
:namaste:


Oh, I agree with that, but to claim a fixed condition of any sort is to deny impermanence, surely. As you write, we can change it - our 'nature' is impermanent.
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Re: Potential

Postby plwk » Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:19 am

Do rocks have Buddha Nature? :tongue:
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Re: Potential

Postby gnegirl » Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:22 am

This thread's title reminds me of frustrating memories in school when a rebellious gnegirl would be hitting heads with her teachers who kept going on and on and on about my 'potential', if I would just be a good little girl and do what i was told..... :tantrum:

Yeah, that didn't work so well,unless their intention was to frustrate me into quitting or doing a 180 and proving them wrong.

I much prefer the potential for happiness that all sentient beings do possess. Waiting to be discovered when ego is exhausted and stillness reigns.
"Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise." --Surangama Sutra

Phenomenon, vast as space, dharmata is your base, arising and falling like ocean tide cycles, why do i cling to your illusion of unceasing changlessness?
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Re: Potential

Postby heart » Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:03 am

plwk wrote:Do rocks have Buddha Nature? :tongue:


The surprising Tibetan answer to that questions is, yes, but just a few of them. :smile:

Read somewhere about a person being reborn as a rock in a oven.

/magnus
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Re: Potential

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:45 am

plwk wrote:Do rocks have Buddha Nature? :tongue:
A prerequisite for the presence of Buddha Nature (and enlightenment) is sentience/mind. Rocks do not have sentience/mind so thay do not have Buddha Nature. A rock may "house" a spirit by the rock is not the spirit and the spirit is not the rock (anymore that you are your home or your home is you).
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Potential

Postby conebeckham » Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:09 pm

A prerequisite for the presence of Buddha Nature (and enlightenment) is sentience/mind.


If this is the case, and I agree that it is, what exactly is this "mind" which is present?
This "inherent potential," or even this "capacity to go up or down" as some want to call it (because the word inherent makes them nervous?!?) --- what, exactly, is it?

What is the difference between a "sentient being" and an inanimate object?

Is the mere presence of mind equivalent to "possessing Buddha Nature?"
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Re: Potential

Postby Heruka » Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:12 pm

conebeckham wrote: (because the word inherent makes them nervous?!?) --- what, exactly, is it?



:rolling:

gelukpa speak!
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Re: Potential

Postby ground » Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:27 pm

conebeckham wrote:Is the mere presence of mind equivalent to "possessing Buddha Nature?"


Clinging aggregates are sufficient to cause appropriation of whatever idea provides the supporting "good" feeling


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Re: Potential

Postby Heruka » Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:31 pm

here we have a problem, if we make some assumptions that this inherentness is not a subtle form of eternalism, but a potency that needs correct conditions to be present, if so, in that regard it is karmic in nature and subject to the up/downess so to speak. If it is karmic it is then something compounded and subject to change, i.e. a buddhahood would be unstable and decay. If we swing the other way and say that it is present always, an eternal non-object, outside of time and karma, and therefore not subject to change, this inherentness is not an object of proper knowledge, we can only say what it is not, not what it is. buddhahood would be unknowable to sentient beings, and no buddhas would arise from such a state, and we stray into nilhism.
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