songhill wrote: futerko wrote:
songhill wrote:It is much easier to take the position that my self is greater than the sum of the aggregates; which is not bound by their limitations. This ends up making Buddhism systematic and not confusing.
That's because thought wants a bottom line, some kind of totality, to grasp the truth, to secure a system. Confusion shows that one has moved beyond the limits of thought.
Thought (mano, manoviññāṇaṃ) is trying to see what my self is as something determinate—a posited thing. Needless to say this project always fails. Thought (mano, manoviññāṇaṃ) nor the senses nor the aggregates can be, for us, a metric. Even thought is to be abandoned (S.iv.16-17). The Buddha teaches us dharma for abandoning (pahânam) all (sabbm) through direct knowledge and full understanding (abhiññā pariññā) (ibid). Rather thought is a confusion maker, for want of a better term.
Certainly it seems that calling "a self" that which is elsewhere referred to as "luminous mind" runs the risk of positing a determinate thing...
songhill wrote:Atman, tathagatagarbha, buddhata are signifiers which represent the true enlightenment experience. These signifiers are vastly different than the five aggregates which are, essentially, illusory (e.g., form is like foam) in addition to being empty (P. rittaka), hollow (P. tucchaka) and insubstantial (P. asâraka).
The idea that tathagatagarbha is a signifier for something that can be experienced (and your phrasing suggests that it is opposite to the qualities you mention, as if "transcendent" here means not-empty, not-hollow, and not-insubstantial), would seem to tend towards a determinate representation.
It makes sense to me to posit a determinate self on the side of the aggregates, and leave the "result" open, unposited, indeterminate, and ungraspable.
Furthermore, this idea of transcendence is accounted for by the fact that tathagatagarbha "pre-dates and underpins" the aggregates - it is an original and primordial unity - so what makes it transcendental is the fact that it is somehow already "foundational" rather than some resultant experience of the beyond - it isn't something that can be experienced because it IS
the very reason for any experiencing in the first place.
It's not like we are all in exile from paradise and need to somehow climb up to get there - the doctrine of tathagatagarbha is that we are already there but we just can't see it (because it is obscured by notions such as "self") - transcendence here means not some kind of "other place" to be reached (such as some determinate content of experience), but rather "that (structure) which has endured unchanged."