Confirming Atman (at least for my own understanding)

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yan kong
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Confirming Atman (at least for my own understanding)

Postby yan kong » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:31 am

While traversing the several aspects of buddhist philosophy I finally rolled back around to the classic bit on atman and ran through a couple of things that concerned me.

While I realise wiki is not the fondest source of information the quote I am taking from it is referenced:

… when we look at [the] interdependence of mental and physical constituents from the perspective of Highest Yoga Tantra, there are two concepts of a person. One is the temporary person or self, that is as we exist at the moment, and this is labeled on the basis of our coarse or gross physical body and conditioned mind, and, at the same time, there is a subtle person or self which is designated in dependence on the subtle body and subtle mind. This subtle body and subtle mind are seen as a single entity that has two facets. The aspect which has the quality of awareness, which can reflect and has the power of cognition, is the subtle mind. Simultaneously, there is its energy, the force that activates the mind towards its object – this is the subtle body or subtle wind. These two inextricably conjoined qualities are regarded, in Highest Yoga Tantra, as the ultimate nature of a person and are identified as buddha nature, the essential or actual nature of mind. 14th Dalai Lama, tibetan book of the dead

But more alarming came from Alexander Berzin's site

Mental Continuums as Tantras
The most outstanding example of an everlasting succession is the mental continuum (mind-stream), the everlasting succession of moments of an individual mind. Mind, in Buddhism, refers to an individual, subjective, mere experiencing of something and not to a physical or immaterial object that either does the experiencing or is the tool someone uses to experience things. Further, a mental continuum is not a flow of experiences that accumulate such that one person has more experience than does another. A mental continuum comprises simply an unbroken succession of moments of mental functioning - the mere experiencing of things. The things experienced include sights, sounds, feelings, thoughts, sleep, and even death. Mere implies that the experiencing of them need not be deliberate, emotionally moving, or even conscious.

Further, the experiencing of something is always individual and subjective. Two people may experience seeing the same movie, but their experiencing of it would not be the same - one may like it; the other may not. How they experience the movie depends on many interrelated factors, such as their moods, their health, their companions, and even their seats.

Individual beings are those with mental continuums. Each moment of their existence, they experience something. They act with intention - even if not conceptually planned - and subjectively experience the immediate and long-term effects of what they do. Thus, the mental continuums of individual beings - their experiencing of things – changes from moment to moment, as do they, and their mental continuums go on from one lifetime to the next, with neither a beginning nor an end. Buddhism accepts as fact not only that mental continuums last eternally, but also that they lack absolute starts, whether from the work of a creator, from matter/energy, or from nothing.

Individual beings, and thus mental continuums, interact with one another, but remain distinct, even in Buddhahood. Although Shakyamuni Buddha and Maitreya Buddha are equivalent in their attainments of enlightenment, they are not the same person. Each has unique connections with different beings, which accounts for the fact that some individuals can meet and benefit from a particular Buddha and not from another.

Movies maintain their individualities without requiring or containing innate fixed markers, such as their titles, ever-present as part of each moment, giving the films individual identities solely by their own powers. Movies sustain individual identities by depending merely on interwoven changing factors, such as a sensible sequencing of frames. Likewise, everlasting mental continuums go on without innate fixed markers, such as souls, selves, or personalities, that remain unaffected and unchanging during one lifetime and from one lifetime to the next and which, by their own powers, give them individual identities. To sustain their individual identities, mental continuums depend merely on interwoven changing factors, such as sensible sequences of experiencing things according to principles of behavioral cause and effect (Skt. karma). Even on a more general level, mental continuums lack inherently fixed identities such as human, mosquito, male, or female. Depending on their actions, individual beings appear in different forms in each lifetime - sometimes with more suffering and problems, sometimes with less.

this was from his unpublished manuscript "making sense of tantra"

This seems largely to me like an arguement for Atman, or at least an eternally existing identity. I am not looking to rock the boat, only to understand and clarify.

Thanks FP
"Meditation is a spiritual exercise, not a therapeutic regime... Our intention is to enter Nirvana, not to make life in Samsara more tolerable." Chan Master Hsu Yun

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Re: Confirming Atman (at least for my own understanding)

Postby Grigoris » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:13 am

cf here for a lengthy discussion on the topic.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

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