Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby phaseolus » Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:18 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Eternal, self..these are all just terms, obviously Nirvana cannot actually be described, i'm sure everyone will agree on that.

...

It seems irrelevant to me whether or not someone uses the term "true self" to label potential of realizing what lies outside of conditioned existence, or spends all their time arguing that it MUST not be called "true self".

In the end it's just an argument about labels and views anyway, I can see how it might matter in terms of not confusing people completely new to Dharma, but it really seems to be quibbling over nothing otherwise.

Again maybe my lack of scholarship shows here I don't know, but it seems like a bizarre thing to me, endless affirmation and negation of terms and views, arguing over what exact terms we use to define what is by definition undefinable.

:shrug:



I'm with you.

Having read a 'dummies' book, taken a mindfulness class, and just barely memorized the four noble truths now, I'm very, very new to all this stuff -- and this forum as well, see my post count over to the left -- so I think learning to be diligent about practice is what I need to do at this point.

But I skimmed as much of the locked thread as I could before my brain went to sleep. (Different vocabulary, but it had pretty much the same feel as Lutheran High School religion classes, by the way...) Anyway, what I get curious about when confronted with disputes like those is this: Is holding one viewpoint as opposed to the other important enough that it would have a positive or negative effect on the outcome of what we practice? Would one view be tuned to certain kinds of practices, and the other view tuned to other kinds?

Apart from that, "settling" these kinds of questions doesn't exactly hold my interest for very long, at this stage...
phaseolus
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:21 am
Location: Bay View, Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby jeeprs » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:18 am

Songhil wrote:there is a major battle going on in Buddhism right now between those believe Buddhism teaches a profound gnosis and those who believe other wise, that Buddhism is a form of materialism.


I agree with that, but not all of those who criticize 'eternalist' ideas are materialist, either. In my view, analysis requires a very careful balance of views.

I did some postgraduate work on this question earlier this year, from which I take the following. I hope it contributes to the discussion.

I think the negative, or 'apophatic' element in the early texts is specifically aimed at avoiding speculation and entanglement with the dogmatic ideas of the kinds that were already current in the Indian tradition.

Diverging from the Upaniṣadic ‘you are that’ (tat tvam asi), the Buddha developed a very specific, even converse, approach to the pursuit of liberation by declaring ‘na me so atta’ - ‘this is not myself’ - where ‘this’ refers to all of the factors of conditioned origination:

‘Rāhula, any kind of material form whatever, whether past, future or present, far or near, all material form should be seen as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self’ “.
‘“Only material form, Blessed One? Only material form, Sublime One?”
‘“Material form, Rāhula, and feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness”’ (MN 62.3)


‘What else is there?’, one might ask. In fact, there is a verse called ‘The All’ in which we read:


The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye and forms, ear and sounds, nose and aromas, tongue and flavors, body and tactile sensations, intellect and ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." (Sabba Sutta SN 35.23.)


This can be read as a direct repudiation of anyone who claims to speak of something ‘beyond the sense-gates’ as being ‘beyond range’. It might be tempting to say that this represents a kind of proto-naturalism, or even positivism - a repudiation of anything beyond empirical observation. However, that would be mistaken, for the Buddha, having established the identity of ‘the All’, then advises the monks to abandon it:

"The intellect is to be abandoned. Ideas are to be abandoned. Consciousness at the intellect is to be abandoned. Contact at the intellect is to be abandoned. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is to be abandoned. (Pahanaya Sutta, SN 35.24)


Does this say, then, that beyond the ‘six sense gates’ and the activities of thought-formations and discriminative consciousness, there is nothing: the absence of any kind of life, mind, or intelligence?

Then Ven. Maha Kotthita went to Ven. Sariputta and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to Ven. Sariputta, "With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & intellection] is it the case that there is anything else?"

[Sariputta:] "Don't say that, my friend."

[Maha Kotthita:] "With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media, is it the case that there is not anything else?"

[Sariputta:] "Don't say that, my friend."
….
[Sariputta:] "The statement, 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & intellection] is it the case that there is anything else?' objectifies non-objectification.The statement, '... is it the case that there is not anything else ... is it the case that there both is & is not anything else ... is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectifies non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes. However far objectification goes, that is how far the six contact media go. With the remainderless fading & stopping of the six contact-media, there comes to be the stopping, the allaying of objectification. (Kotthita Sutta, AN 4.174; emphasis added.)


The phrase ‘objectifies non-objectification’ (vadaṃ appapañcaṃ papañceti) is key here. As Thanissaro Bikkhu notes in his commentary, ‘the root of the classifications and perceptions of objectification is the thought, "I am the thinker." This thought forms the motivation for the questions that Ven. Maha Kotthita is presenting here.’ The very action of thinking ‘creates the thinker’, rather than vice versa. In effect, the questioner is asking, ‘is this something I can experience?’ And to do so, tends towards eternalism.

But we need to be very mindful of what is, and what is not, being said in all such dialogues. My basic reading is that it is an argument against 'believing what you cannot see' - in other words, forming beliefs about states of being, or levels of being, without actually having insight into what these states are and what they mean. Always the emphasis is on seeing and having insight into the causal factors of experience.

I agree therefore with
Gregkavarnos wrote:It is realised. It is not understood by conditioned mind.


as conditioned mind cannot reach it.

As to ideas of tathagathagarbha in the early texts, I certainly think such ideas are there. But the key point is not to misinterpret them, or even 'believe' in them. They are to be understood, not clung to, because otherwise they become the basis of religious dogmas, which was what the Buddha, I think, set out to avoid. It is easy to see how 'belief in Buddhanature' is somewhat similar to belief in deity, generally, although, even so, religious devotion is a vehicle for those who might not be able to understand the subtleties of the direct teaching.

Here is also a very relevant essay called Consciousness Mysticism in the Discourses of the Buddha by Peter Harvey.
He that knows it, knows it not.
User avatar
jeeprs
 
Posts: 1409
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby Jnana » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:21 am

deepbluehum wrote:Jnana, do you recognize the Tathagatagarbha sutras?

Sure. There's enough conceptual diversity in the large body of Mahāyāna sūtras that one can find support for almost any position one desires. But the so-called tathāgatagarbha sūtras only represent a small fraction of the Mahāyāna sūtras, and as far as I'm concerned, there's more useful instructions to be learned elsewhere. Useful in that they actually lead to a reduction in conceptual clinging.

deepbluehum wrote:How do you understand Atman from MPNS?

It's just a word. To grasp onto this word as referring to some sort of permanent, unchanging entity is a symptom of delusion.
Jnana
 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:58 pm

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby Jnana » Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:15 am

songhill wrote: In this regard, transcendence is seeing that we are, fundamentally, not our psycho-physical body, the actual self being transcendent, being beyond the psycho-physical (pañcaskandha).

Question: Does this actual self that you are asserting experience feeling or does it not experience feeling?
Jnana
 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:58 pm

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:30 am

tomamundsen wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:It is realised. It is not understood by conditioned mind.
What's the difference between realizing and understanding that your'e proposing here?
Understanding is knowing that a buried treasure exists, realising is digging up the treasure.
: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
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Former staff member
 
Posts: 7884
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:39 am

Son of Buddha wrote:"Lord, whoever does not doubt that the Tathagatagarbha is wrapped up in all the defilement-store, also does not doubt that the Dharmakaya of the Tathagata is liberated from all the defilement-store. When anyone's mind reaches the ultimate purport of the Tathagatagarbha, the Dharmakaya of the Tathagata and inconceivable realm of the Buddha.
the Tathagatagarbha is not tainted the term is used to show it is under the defilements not that it is defiled itself.
thats true the conditioned mind is the "I" that clings to the 5 aggreagates the "I" cannot realise enlightenement cause the "I" "me" is the defilement itself.
So according to this theory the Tathagatagarbha is an element of the Alaya Vijnana? It is part of the conditioned aspect of mind? Tatahagatagarbha is conditioned? If it is conditioned then how can it be unconditioned? If it is unconditioned how can it be conditioned? If it is unconditioned how can it be the source of samsara (ie how can an orange tree arise from an apple seed)? Are there two Alaya Vijnana, one tainted and one pure? :shrug:

This logic falls apart under Madhymamaka analysis.
: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
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Former staff member
 
Posts: 7884
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby duckfiasco » Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:30 pm

Stupid newbie response, but Greg got me thinking.

Delusion can arise from the Unconditioned because any idea, even as much as we couch that idea with the warning "not just another idea but what it points to", is inherently a part of samsara since it arises from discriminating mind. Delusion is itself delusion, you know? So each idea is slightly clumsy since it's just a tool, as Greg pointed out with these critiques of one understanding of Tathagatagarbha. I think the Buddha in this discussion might be super obnoxious and say "Tathagatagarbha is no-self" with the same meaning as if he had said "Stinky cheese is no-self". I have to remind myself here not to get too swept away in the lovely philosophical intricacies. To my inexperienced eyes, this looks like the quest to find the perfect referent to something that by definition can't be accurately described. Johnny may have said the exact same thing pages ago.

So then if you can't describe it, is the conversation about which understanding is more skillful? In that case, it looks like a case of different gateways to the dharma to me, like debating about if pink lady apples are better than golden delicious ones :shrug: which they are by the way :twothumbsup:

Maybe I missed the point, but that's my take on all this. I'm thankful for the scholarship of everyone on here, even if I'm just a silly duck who likes bread crumbs! :rolleye:
Please take the above post with a grain of salt.
User avatar
duckfiasco
 
Posts: 379
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am
Location: Oregon

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:34 pm

Jnana wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:Jnana, do you recognize the Tathagatagarbha sutras?

Sure. There's enough conceptual diversity in the large body of Mahāyāna sūtras that one can find support for almost any position one desires. But the so-called tathāgatagarbha sūtras only represent a small fraction of the Mahāyāna sūtras, and as far as I'm concerned, there's more useful instructions to be learned elsewhere. Useful in that they actually lead to a reduction in conceptual clinging.

deepbluehum wrote:How do you understand Atman from MPNS?

It's just a word. To grasp onto this word as referring to some sort of permanent, unchanging entity is a symptom of delusion.


With respect, you're comments tend to flout the Kagyu rendition of dharma, which put the 3rd Turning sutras in the forefront as the epitome of the Buddha's teachings.

The Tathagatagarbha is "ngo bo," entity/essence of the mind which is changless and deathless, the opposite of impermanent. This is according to both Kagyu and Nyingma.
deepbluehum
 
Posts: 1302
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:05 am
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby futerko » Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:35 pm

deepbluehum wrote:The Tathagatagarbha is "ngo bo," entity/essence of the mind which is changless and deathless, the opposite of impermanent. This is according to both Kagyu and Nyingma.


Karl Brunnholzl. The Center of the Sunlit Sky: Madhyamaka in the Kagyu Tradition (p. 62).
…in the sutras, Buddha nature is explained as being unconditioned. On this basis of it being unconditioned, it is sometimes further interpreted as an entity and sometimes as an empty nonentity. With the first way of interpretation in mind, Dolpopa and others have interpreted Buddha nature as an unconditioned entity that is permanent, lasting, and unchanging. Thinking of the second way of interpretation, the great translator Ngog Lotsawa interpreted Buddha nature as emptiness in the sense of a nonimplicative negation, while Aryavimuktisena and Haribhadra have explained the expanse of dharmas (that is, the disposition that is the foundation for accomplishing the perfections) as emptiness.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby tomamundsen » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:25 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
tomamundsen wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:It is realised. It is not understood by conditioned mind.
What's the difference between realizing and understanding that your'e proposing here?
Understanding is knowing that a buried treasure exists, realising is digging up the treasure.
:namaste:

OK, but then how is realization not something that occurs in the conscious mind? What feature of the sentient being realizes if not the consciousness?
User avatar
tomamundsen
 
Posts: 539
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:50 am
Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby Son of Buddha » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:31 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Son of Buddha wrote:"Lord, whoever does not doubt that the Tathagatagarbha is wrapped up in all the defilement-store, also does not doubt that the Dharmakaya of the Tathagata is liberated from all the defilement-store. When anyone's mind reaches the ultimate purport of the Tathagatagarbha, the Dharmakaya of the Tathagata and inconceivable realm of the Buddha.
the Tathagatagarbha is not tainted the term is used to show it is under the defilements not that it is defiled itself.
thats true the conditioned mind is the "I" that clings to the 5 aggreagates the "I" cannot realise enlightenement cause the "I" "me" is the defilement itself.
So according to this theory the Tathagatagarbha is an element of the Alaya Vijnana? It is part of the conditioned aspect of mind? Tatahagatagarbha is conditioned? If it is conditioned then how can it be unconditioned? If it is unconditioned how can it be conditioned? If it is unconditioned how can it be the source of samsara (ie how can an orange tree arise from an apple seed)? Are there two Alaya Vijnana, one tainted and one pure? :shrug:

This logic falls apart under Madhymamaka analysis:shrug:
:namaste:


This logic falls apart under Madhymamaka analysis.


really I like how it "falls apart" under analysis before you have even heard the counter argument of the other debator.

So according to this theory the Tathagatagarbha is an element of the Alaya Vijnana?

(NO)the Tathagatagarbha isnt an element of the Alaya Vijnana,they are the same thing Lankavatara Sutra LXXXVI the Tathagatagarbha known as the Alaya Vijnana

It is part of the conditioned aspect of mind? Tatahagatagarbha is conditioned?


(NO)"When anyone's mind reaches the ultimate purport of the Tathagatagarbha, the Dharmakaya of the Tathagata and inconceivable realm of the Buddha.
as you can see the Tathagatagarbha is the Buddha so would you say the Buddha has a conditioned mind?=no "the Tathagatagarbha excludes the realm with the characteristics of the constructed(conditioned)(from Queen srimala sutra)

If it is conditioned then how can it be unconditioned?

its not conditionded this question is refuted in the previous question,the question itself comes from the lack of understaning of the tathagtagarbha itself.

If it is unconditioned how can it be conditioned?


it doesnt become conditioned,it isnt conditioned."Lord, this intrinsic purity of the Tathagatagarbha stained by adventitious secondary defilements is the domain of the Tathagata, who is the inconceivable master. Why so? The virtuous consciousness, being momentary, is not defiled by defilements.
say you spilled coke on a floor would you now call the coke the floor?,or would you say the floor is seperate and has coke on it?simply said the floor is always the floor,the coke will never be the floor,and in the end you will wipe off the spilt coke that is on the floor,leaving the floor,clean of the dilment that laid on top of it. :namaste:

If it is unconditioned how can it be the source of samsara (ie how can an orange tree arise from an apple seed)?


its not the source,an orange tree cannot arise from an apple seed,hence Pure Mind cannot create Samsara,its is Samsara that clings to Pure Mind,("I") of the 5 aggregates creating impermenant defiled consciousness(hence spilled coke that dries on the floor gives one an impression that it is apart of the floor until it is washed off)

Are there two Alaya Vijnana, one tainted and one pure? :shrug:

NO


This logic falls apart under Madhymamaka analysis

:applause: you were argueing based upon your own misunderstanding of the said subject,(you have to first know what the subject is before you can even refute it)
simply said you refuted your own misunderstanding of the subject :rolling:
User avatar
Son of Buddha
 
Posts: 777
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:48 pm

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby viniketa » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:35 pm

futerko wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:The Tathagatagarbha is "ngo bo," entity/essence of the mind which is changless and deathless, the opposite of impermanent. This is according to both Kagyu and Nyingma.


Karl Brunnholzl. The Center of the Sunlit Sky: Madhyamaka in the Kagyu Tradition (p. 62).
…in the sutras, Buddha nature is explained as being unconditioned. On this basis of it being unconditioned, it is sometimes further interpreted as an entity and sometimes as an empty nonentity....


Exactly, in the sutras, 'Buddha nature" is unconditioned. The "deathless" is a major designation I was taught. I was further taught that it is not different from the Tathatā or Dharmatā. It is designated by some as Dharmadhātu or Dharmakaya. To reify and say it is an entity or non-entity, empty or non-empty, a self or non-self is to miss the point entirely; all other description is mere conventional convenience. However, the description which seems to fit best is the pure potentiality of the universe (outside of time). This is the true nature of mind free from ignorance, all defilements and obscurations.

This is my understanding of the Tathāgatagarbha sutras.

:namaste:

P.S. Realization is not consciousness as we define it. One can be conscious of realization, but one cannot realize consciousness. There is the ālaya (undefiled, unobscured) and consciousness of the bīja - the ālayavijñāna.
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
User avatar
viniketa
 
Posts: 819
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:39 am
Location: USA

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby deepbluehum » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:04 am

Nibbana is a pure vijnana as stated in the suttas I cited above.

Here is what the Kagyu position is:

Gongchig Sec I, 9

It is said, "The manifold vehicle is the Dharma wheel of the definitive meaning,
I.e., emptiness." The meaning of this is as follows:
After one has dispelled the two extremes individually
By the teacings of the first Dharma wheel, i.e., the absence of characteristics,
One arrives at the definitive meaning, which is free of all extremes,
In the teachings of the manifold vehicle emptiness arises as both, cause and effect,
And these again follow various subtle distinctions,
Although the various paths and fruits are explained as the numerous approaches
Of the vehicles, finally one should ascertain them as a unity.
Therefore the final Dharma wheel teaches the manifold approaches of the vehicles;
This is to be viewed as the Dharma wheel of the definitive meaning,
Since in the Tathagatagarbhasutra and in the Samdhininirmocanasutra it was declared this way.

11.
It is said, "The very instructions that teach Cittamatra explicate Madhyamaka."
No material phenomena are established as something different from mere mind.
But the mind is free of the extremes of existence and non-existence as well.
Therefore, who says Madhyamaka is different from that?
Appearances and mind being non-dual, this should be held as one's principal practice


In the MPNS, bliss, purity, self and permanence can be understood in the same way as verse Sec I, 11 of Gongchig's comments on the unity of appearances and mind. The Upadeshas use words like unimpeded, spaciousness, etc. While these experiences are concrete in that they are always the case, they are free of extremes of existence and non-existence, particularly because they are the gnosis of one who does not posit an experiencer or a thing to experience.
deepbluehum
 
Posts: 1302
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:05 am
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby viniketa » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:17 am

deepbluehum wrote:Nibbana is a pure vijnana as stated in the suttas I cited above.


IMO, we must be careful about always translating viññāṇaṃ (or vijñāna) as "consciousness" in English due to the basic assumptions of duality inferred by "consciousness". In this particular passage, it might be better translated as "knowing".

See the discussion, here:

http://sujato.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/ ... E2%80%99t/

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
User avatar
viniketa
 
Posts: 819
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:39 am
Location: USA

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby deepbluehum » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:24 am

viniketa wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:Nibbana is a pure vijnana as stated in the suttas I cited above.


IMO, we must be careful about always translating viññāṇaṃ (or vijñāna) as "consciousness" in English due to the basic assumptions of duality inferred by "consciousness". In this particular passage, it might be better translated as "knowing".

See the discussion, here:

http://sujato.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/ ... E2%80%99t/

:namaste:


Perception is a better translation. Vi comes from "to see," i.e., video, related to seeing. Jnana means knowing. So it's knowing+seeing, i.e., perception. If the word were just knowing it would be jnana.

I think that Buddhists are making the fallacy of a distinction without a difference when it comes to these semantic games. There is no difference really between perception, consciousness and knowing.

What is the useful practice Buddha introduced is to show how the personality consists of five elements/skandhas and 12-links, so that it is very clear that it is not a unity. But nibbana is a vijnana, a citta, as you like. It is permanent pure bliss that consists of itself. The difference is between conditioned versus unconditioned consciousness. All the distinguishing comes from looking at the nature of the unconditioned. It certainly does not create a new category called "The Unconditioned."

As Saraha says, "Those who conceptualize emptiness are stupider than cows."

P.S. The error made by the Vedic thinkers is to think that everything comes this, i.e., that Shiva, Brahma, Parashakti or whomever created maya purposely. The Buddha's insight is to show how we each share in its creation. So there is no worry about being non-Buddhist by recognizing it is one's own mind that is purified, blissful and can be liberated permanently without becoming nothing.
deepbluehum
 
Posts: 1302
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:05 am
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby Jnana » Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:12 am

deepbluehum wrote:With respect, you're comments tend to flout the Kagyu rendition of dharma, which put the 3rd Turning sutras in the forefront as the epitome of the Buddha's teachings.

Not any more than Karmapa Mikyo Dorje I doubt..... There's no need to take the tathāgatagarbha sūtras literally. After all, the term "tathāgatagarbha " is itself a metaphorical figure of speech. As far as Tibetan positions are concerned, I can debate either for or against the shentong view. But none of these word games cuts through conceptual proliferation and induced nonconceptual knowledge.

deepbluehum wrote:The Tathagatagarbha is "ngo bo," entity/essence of the mind which is changless and deathless, the opposite of impermanent. This is according to both Kagyu and Nyingma.

Well, there's also Shakya Chogden, stating that although the tathāgatagarbha is often said to be permanent, etc., "that is also done in terms of its continuum. Otherwise, [it should] be [understood as] impermanent, precisely because of having an immediately preceding condition [deriving] from [its previous] moment."

And Go Lotsawa:

    It is not the case that space that exists only as enclosed space does not partake of the nature of momentariness along a continuum. If you take time into account here, space at the beginning of an eon (kalpa) is not the [same] space at the time of [its] destruction. In terms of location, the substance that exists as the enclosed space of a golden receptacle is not that which exists as the enclosed space of an earthen receptacle. Likewise, a moment in the continuation of a continuum having the quality of the [buddha] element's awareness of sentient beings is not a moment in the wisdom of a buddha. Notwithstanding, in the same way as the existence of the enclosed space of a golden and earthen receptacle is not different in terms of type (rigs), the nonconceptuality of a buddha and the nonconceptuality of sentient beings are of a very similar type.

deepbluehum wrote:But nibbana is a vijnana, a citta, as you like.

Nibbāna is never said to be a cognition in the Nikāyas. Of all the epithets used for nibbāna in the Nikāyas, mind or consciousness are never included among them. This is because asserting a permanent and unchanging mind or consciousness is explicitly said to be a wrong view of partial eternalism (ekaccasassatavāda) in DN 1:

    [T]hat which is called "mind" (citta) or "mentality" (mano) or "consciousness" (viññāṇa) — that self is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and it will remain the same just like eternity itself.

Nibbāna is an object of knowledge, not a cognition. The sutta passages you've been quoting are referring to the supramundane cognition of nibbāna.
Jnana
 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:58 pm

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby viniketa » Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:20 am

deepbluehum wrote:I think that Buddhists are making the fallacy of a distinction without a difference when it comes to these semantic games. There is no difference really between perception, consciousness and knowing.... All the distinguishing comes from looking at the nature of the unconditioned.


Semantics isn't just a game. It is trying to be precise in communication. At the risk of further reification of conceptualization, I respectfully disagree that all these are the same. Perception arises from sense contact, consciousness arises from distinguishing observer from observed, understanding arises from intellect. Distinguishing arises once the "looking at the nature of the unconditioned" is done from within specially-conditioned time. Once the momentary nature of thought arises, all becomes conditioned. "Knowing" is different from all of these. It is only the same in the casual way we typically use the term as a substitute for any of the other three. Knowing occurs when all is one with the known.

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
User avatar
viniketa
 
Posts: 819
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:39 am
Location: USA

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby deepbluehum » Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:58 am

Jnana wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:With respect, you're comments tend to flout the Kagyu rendition of dharma, which put the 3rd Turning sutras in the forefront as the epitome of the Buddha's teachings.

Not any more than Karmapa Mikyo Dorje I doubt..... There's no need to take the tathāgatagarbha sūtras literally. After all, the term "tathāgatagarbha " is itself a metaphorical figure of speech. As far as Tibetan positions are concerned, I can debate either for or against the shentong view. But none of these word games cuts through conceptual proliferation and induced nonconceptual knowledge.


Agreed. Self, permanence, etc., is what is realized in the practice of the yoga of two stages, etc.

Jnana wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:The Tathagatagarbha is "ngo bo," entity/essence of the mind which is changless and deathless, the opposite of impermanent. This is according to both Kagyu and Nyingma.

Well, there's also Shakya Chogden, stating that although the tathāgatagarbha is often said to be permanent, etc., "that is also done in terms of its continuum. Otherwise, [it should] be [understood as] impermanent, precisely because of having an immediately preceding condition [deriving] from [its previous] moment."


That would be a rather slim minority view from a minor teacher. It does not represent the view of the Kagyu at all or the Tathagatagarbha sutras.

Jnana wrote:And Go Lotsawa:

    It is not the case that space that exists only as enclosed space does not partake of the nature of momentariness along a continuum. If you take time into account here, space at the beginning of an eon (kalpa) is not the [same] space at the time of [its] destruction. In terms of location, the substance that exists as the enclosed space of a golden receptacle is not that which exists as the enclosed space of an earthen receptacle. Likewise, a moment in the continuation of a continuum having the quality of the [buddha] element's awareness of sentient beings is not a moment in the wisdom of a buddha. Notwithstanding, in the same way as the existence of the enclosed space of a golden and earthen receptacle is not different in terms of type (rigs), the nonconceptuality of a buddha and the nonconceptuality of sentient beings are of a very similar type.


I don't find this line of reasoning to be very convincing. Momentariness is not a very important idea, really. Honestly, this is some messy thinking by Go Lotsawa, another not minor writer.

Jnana wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:But nibbana is a vijnana, a citta, as you like.

Nibbāna is never said to be a cognition in the Nikāyas.


It is said to be a vijnana which is luminous all around.

Jnana wrote:Of all the epithets used for nibbāna in the Nikāyas, mind or consciousness are never included among them.


You need to see the passage I cited earlier for the precise reason why you are wrong in this idea.

Jnana wrote:This is because asserting a permanent and unchanging mind or consciousness is explicitly said to be a wrong view of partial eternalism (ekaccasassatavāda) in DN 1:

    [T]hat which is called "mind" (citta) or "mentality" (mano) or "consciousness" (viññāṇa) — that self is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and it will remain the same just like eternity itself.


Buddha clearly has two uses of these terms, one for the conditioned related to the 5 skandhas and one related to a purified version.

Jnana wrote:Nibbāna is an object of knowledge, not a cognition.


That is nowhere supported in the Nikayas. If it were an object, then there would be a knower of that object, and it would be something other than one's own mind. "Mind is the chief" as it were.

Jnana wrote:The sutta passages you've been quoting are referring to the supramundane cognition of nibbāna.


It seems you just contradicted your earlier statement.
deepbluehum
 
Posts: 1302
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:05 am
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby Jnana » Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:13 am

deepbluehum wrote:Agreed. Self, permanence, etc., is what is realized in the practice of the yoga of two stages, etc.

Yes, I remember your fondness for eternalist views.

deepbluehum wrote:It is said to be a vijnana which is luminous all around.

No it isn't.

deepbluehum wrote:Buddha clearly has two uses of these terms, one for the conditioned related to the 5 skandhas and one related to a purified version.

No he didn't.

deepbluehum wrote:
Jnana wrote:Nibbāna is an object of knowledge, not a cognition.


That is nowhere supported in the Nikayas. If it were an object, then there would be a knower of that object, and it would be something other than one's own mind. "Mind is the chief" as it were.

Of course it is. Terms such as nibbāna ñāṇa and khayeñāṇa, etc., are used in the suttas for the cognition of nibbāna.

deepbluehum wrote:
Jnana wrote:The sutta passages you've been quoting are referring to the supramundane cognition of nibbāna.


It seems you just contradicted your earlier statement.

Not at all. You just don't understand Buddhist epistemology.
Jnana
 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:58 pm

Re: Tathagatagarbha, Eternalism, etc.

Postby duckfiasco » Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:16 am

consciousness arises from distinguishing observer from observed

So when the act is no longer mentally divided between subject/object but seen interdependently, what happens to consciousness then? :shrug: I don't ask to be snarky, but only because I thought consciousness was a function of the five aggregates and not a direct byproduct of one's ignorance or attainment.
Please take the above post with a grain of salt.
User avatar
duckfiasco
 
Posts: 379
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am
Location: Oregon

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Alfredo, conebeckham, MSNbot Media, Norwegian, smcj and 28 guests

>