"the Self is real" according to T. Page

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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby muni » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:19 am

Son of Buddha wrote: why would you change the word Self to something else?


I read that so: Why would you change 'Self' (nondual nature?) to "some thing else"? Well......sigh.

As the word Self is here accepted and rejected it is clear it must not have an independent nature.

Thank you for contemplation, Son of Buddha.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby smcj » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:23 am

Son of Buddha wrote:I dont have an issue with semantics....I accept the semantics of the actual text itself.....the ones who have an issue over Semantics are the ones who cannot and will not accept the word True Self...even if it is taught in the text itself.

A specific word has a specific meaning you wouldnt call an airplane a turtle would you, why would you change the word Self to something else?

OK, so you seem content with your assessment. What now? How are you going to incorporate it into your practice?
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:22 pm

Son of Buddha wrote:
A specific word has a specific meaning you wouldnt call an airplane a turtle would you, why would you change the word Self to something else?


Words often have many meanings. For example, the word prajñā in Hinduism means something different than prajñā in Buddhism.

The word "rigs" in Tibetan translates these Sanskrit words: gotra, kula, yukti, etc., all words with different meanings.

Likwise, even in Sanskrit, the term atman has several meanings, all dependent on context.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:07 pm

Malcolm wrote:Likwise, even in Sanskrit, the term atman has several meanings, all dependent on context.

Just looking at the Srimala sutra, it seems that the context for its use of atman in connection with dharmakaya is the four viparyasas. So, what would you say the meaning of atman/anatman is in that context?
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:36 pm

The debate over whether Tathagatagarbha (Buddha nature) implies some sort of atman (eternal self), or not, has been going on for centuries. There are those who say it refers to some kind of "self" and there are those who assert that it is, by its very nature, selfless, meaning free from any sort of defining, (de + fine), thus, limiting characteristics. Although logic would indicate that the definition of any type of "self' would depend on the exclusion of whatever is not that 'self' (and thus negate any notion of that self as ultimate) there are still those who maintain a Brahamanist viewpoint, and thus, there is not much that one can offer logically, that will change that viewpoint.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:08 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:... there is not much that one can offer logically ...

As Queen Srimala said:
Lord, the explanation of the meaning of the Noble Truths should be considered to be profound and subtle, difficult to understand, incapable of being judged, and not in the domain of logic. It takes a wise man to appreciate it. It cannot be the concern of any worldly persons. Why is that? Because this profound teaching explains the Tathagatagarbha. The Tathagatagarbha is the domain of the Tathagata. It is not the domain of any Disciple or Self-Enlightened one. Lord, the Tathagatagarbha is the locus of this explanation of the meaning of the Noble Truths. Because the locus of the Tathagatagarbha is profound, the meaning of the Noble Truths is considered to be profound and subtle, difficult to understand, incapable of being judged, and not in the domain of logic. It takes a wise man to understand it. It cannot be the concern of any worldly persons.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Malcolm » Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:27 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Likwise, even in Sanskrit, the term atman has several meanings, all dependent on context.

Just looking at the Srimala sutra, it seems that the context for its use of atman in connection with dharmakaya is the four viparyasas. So, what would you say the meaning of atman/anatman is in that context?



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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:12 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
Lord, the explanation of the meaning of the Noble Truths should be considered to be profound and subtle, difficult to understand, incapable of being judged, and not in the domain of logic. It takes a wise man to appreciate it. It cannot be the concern of any worldly persons. Why is that? Because this profound teaching explains the Tathagatagarbha. The Tathagatagarbha is the domain of the Tathagata. It is not the domain of any Disciple or Self-Enlightened one. Lord, the Tathagatagarbha is the locus of this explanation of the meaning of the Noble Truths. Because the locus of the Tathagatagarbha is profound, the meaning of the Noble Truths is considered to be profound and subtle, difficult to understand, incapable of being judged, and not in the domain of logic. It takes a wise man to understand it. It cannot be the concern of any worldly persons.


...and because you are implying, "therefore...."
(the sutra says it is beyond logic, so therefore, logic doesn't apply")
...then you are trying to use logical methodology
to say that logic does not apply here.

Basically you are opening the old escape-hatch of religious faith:
"As long as we agree that it isn't logical to begin with, it doesn't have to be".\
which fits perfectly with the practice of quoting scriptures at random
and interpreting them in order to assert
what is otherwise a version of the god theory.

That's your option.
good luck with that.
As I said, this jhas been going on for centuries.
;)
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Last edited by PadmaVonSamba on Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:42 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:...and because you are implying, "therefore...."
(the sutra says it is beyond logic, so therefore, logic doesn't apply")
...then you are trying to use logical methodology
to say that logic does not apply here.

Basically you are opening the old escape-hatch of religious faith:
"As long as we agree that it isn't logical to begin with, it doesn't have to be".\
which fits perfectly with the practice of quoting scriptures at random
and interpreting them in order to assert
what is otherwise a version of the god theory.

That's your option.
good luck with that.
As I said, this jhas been going on for centuries.
;)
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Do I detect a little foam? You cited the Srimala sutra in support of your position, and I am just pointing out some of what it says. I don't view that sutra, or any other scripture for that matter, as authoritative. It is true that many people who speak of atman say it is beyond logic, as Buddhists say Nirvana is, and as that sutra says tathagatagarbha/dharmakaya is. Check out the word atarkavacara/atakkavacara when you have a chance.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:42 am

dzogchungpa wrote: Do I detect a little foam?

:rolling: maybe.

My understanding of tathāgatagarbha being beyond logic is twofold:
1. Because, having no limiting characteristics, tathāgatagarbha precedes any arising of a 'self', thus, any notion of it as being limited to a 'self' would be incomplete. And any notion of "self" , whether as a sentient being or as a Buddha is by definition limited, because it excludes anything which is not part of that 'self". If everything is part of that 'self" then it ceases to be a "self".

2. Because of the way that samsaric beings experience things, which is usually dualistic, they cannot (or rather, it is very difficult to) grasp it's completeness. Only by getting past the "self-and-other" perception of things (which, ultimately comes from a denial of sunyata) can one begin to appreciate the selfless nature of "Buddha Nature".

"Ttathāgatagarbha being beyond logic" has nothing to do with simply throwing out logical arguments because they are not convenient. If a logical argument illustrates why the tathāgatagarbha isn't a 'self' , then simply saying "well, it says here we don't have to think logically about it" is a cop-out. It's the religion loop-hole.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby muni » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:13 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:As I said, this has been going on for centuries.
;)
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Ha!
This sentence reminds me very much on an example once given about the beautiful birds talking in their golden cages, and the simple birds flying free in open blue sky.

Or clouds proving the sky while the sky remains peaceful by all these.

:smile:
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:31 pm

The thread on Bronkhorst got me looking through his "Buddhist Teaching in India", so I thought I would see what his take on anatta/anatman in early Buddhism was. His discussion begins on p.22:
Most later Buddhists in India simply denied the existence of a self, a position we will take up later on. Here we have to ask whether the ancient discourses actually deny the existence of a self. Among modern scholars studying the passages in question, some believe that ancient Buddhism did not deny a self, others believe that it did.

After some discussion he says:
The aim of the teaching of the Buddha is evidently not to discover the real self. On the contrary, the preoccupation with the true nature of the self has to be given up. Only then one is ready to follow the path shown by the Buddha. 50 Seen from this practical point of view, the question as to the existence of the self is of minor importance. The main thing is that knowledge of the self plays no useful role on the Buddha's path to liberation. In view of the fact that certain non-Buddhist currents asserted a permanent self not subject to change because only knowledge of such a self could be useful to the attainment of liberation, it is probably justified to assume that the Buddha did not accept the existence of such a self. 51

Footnotes 50 and 51 read as follows:
50 Schmithausen (1973a: 178) was probably right in stating that the Buddha's negative attitude with regard to the self was purely spiritual-practical. Vetter (1991:187), too, rightly observes that the fact that the existence of the atman is not recognized in the ancient texts is not merely an expression of denial but should be seen as a case of avoidance of the atman in the description of aim and result of the path. However, his reasoning does not convince when he claims that the atman was too much surrounded by myths, which were perceived as inappropriate or even as a hindrance.

51 Nevertheless, Oetke (1988: 153) is no doubt right in thinking that the thesis according to which the Buddha explicitly rejected or denied a self is unfounded.

In the section "Final Observations", p. 189 he says:
Then there is the role played by the doctrine of not-self in Buddhism. Initially it implied no more than the denial of insight into the true nature of the self as an essential element of the road leading to liberation. The idea of not-self subsequently developed into one of the fundamental dogmas of Buddhism.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 05, 2014 2:35 am

Most later Buddhists in India simply denied the existence of a self, a position we will take up later on. Here we have to ask whether the ancient discourses actually deny the existence of a self. Among modern scholars studying the passages in question, some believe that ancient Buddhism did not deny a self, others believe that it did.


Or, it doesn't matter what somebody said a long time ago,
because you can determine it yourself analytically.
That too is an option.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby dzogchungpa » Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:11 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Or, it doesn't matter what somebody said a long time ago,
because you can determine it yourself analytically.

What scholars think the Buddha is likely to have taught and not taught might matter to the less analytically gifted among us.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:16 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Or, it doesn't matter what somebody said a long time ago,
because you can determine it yourself analytically.

What scholars think the Buddha is likely to have taught and not taught might matter to the less analytically gifted among us.


It's not a matter of "analytically gifted".
Start by practicing vippasna.

Not being able to find something that isn't there isn't difficult.
Finding something that isn't there is difficult!
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby dzogchungpa » Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:13 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Start by practicing vippasna.

Thanks for the advice. :smile:
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:37 am

I'm not really familiar with the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, but I happen to be reading " Treasury of Precious Qualities, Book Two" and in note 439 from the chapter "The Ground of the Great Perfection" I came across the following, which is taken from Yonten Gyamtso's commentary on the root text by Jigme Lingpa:
Therefore, of the second and third turnings of the Dharma wheel, it is in the third that the final, definitive teaching is expressed. In the Mahaparinirvana-sutra, the second and third turnings of the wheel of Dharma were explained with the following example. A certain doctor gave medicine to a sick baby and told its mother not to feed it until it had digested the medicine. Accordingly, the woman smeared her breast with bile, telling her child that she could not feed it because there was poison on her breast. Although the baby wanted to drink its mother's milk, it could not because her breast had a bitter taste. When, however , the medicine had been digested, the woman washed her breast and wanted to feed her child. The latter, however, was wary of the bitter tasted and would not suckle. When the woman explained why her breast had tasted biter, the baby gradually came to drink her milk again.

Now in the same way that the woman had put bile upon her breast, the Tathagata taught that all phenomena are devoid of self (they are without inherent existence). He did this so that his disciples would meditate on emptiness. But later, just as the woman washed her breast and suckled again, the Buddha said that all beings are pervaded by the Tathagatagarbha. And after speaking in this way, the Buddha declared: 'O monks, you too must distinguish these two instances. The tathagatagarbha is not nonexistent. In the past (in the Prajnaparamita-sutras), I spoke of emptiness, but you should know that I intended only the absence of inherent existence. Indeed meditation on an emptiness that is just nothingness would not give rise to the kayas and wisdoms of buddhahood. For as the cause is, so is its fruit.

Dilgo Khyentse comments:
Emptiness compared to a bitter taste refers to "mere emptiness". But there are two aspects in the tathagatagarbha: emptiness and luminosity. The second turning of the wheel expounds only the emptiness aspect, while the third turning of the wheel expounds emptiness and luminosity inseparably united.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:25 am

dzogchungpa wrote: the Buddha said that all beings are pervaded by the Tathagatagarbha.

Yes, this is true. But you have to examine what that actually means.
One could also say that all beings are pervaded by atoms.
It describes the pervasive nature of beings.
But, just as atoms are not a self, Tathagatagarbha is not a self.

Please let me share what I posted on another thread regarding my understanding of Buddha Nature:

My understanding is that when it is said all beings possess Buddha-nature,
it means that all beings have the possibility of realization
(even if, in this lifetime, they lack the practical means of attaining it)
that this possibility is inherent within all beings,
not that there is a "buddha essence" as such, inherent in beings.

You can liken this to a lottery
where all the participants have the potential, or chance of guessing the winning numbers
but that "potential' or "chance" is not an inherent thing inside them.
(Whether they have the means of acquiring a lottery ticket in this lifetime is another matter).
That chance doesn't exist anywhere, and it isn't part of a big cosmic chance holding the universe together.
This is what Brahmanism suggests,
that each individual possesses an existent thing (self, atman, soul) which is part of a greater thing.

If realization was not inherent in all beings
then practicing dharma for oneself or for the sake of all beings would be pointless.

As an indicator that all beings possess this potential for becoming Buddhas,
the essential characteristic of samsara is the constant striving
for a perfect cessation to suffering (dukkha), which is essentially discontent to one degree or another.
That perfect cessation of discontent, the attainment of perfect peace of mind,
is the goal of Dharma practice.

If beings were not constantly striving for this end of discontentment
they would not engage in actions which they believe to bring happiness.
The things which we now regard as causing unhappiness wouldn't cause unhappiness at all
and beings would be perfectly content regardless of the changing or deteriorating conditions of things.

Thus, it can be determined that because beings strive for the cessation of suffering
that therefore the perfect cessation of suffering (Buddhahood) is the mind's original state.

.....

Tathagatagarbha is an inherent quality, but it is not an inherent thing
or an inherent self.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Son of Buddha » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:45 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote: the Buddha said that all beings are pervaded by the Tathagatagarbha.

Yes, this is true. But you have to examine what that actually means.
One could also say that all beings are pervaded by atoms.
It describes the pervasive nature of beings.
But, just as atoms are not a self, Tathagatagarbha is not a self.


The Nirvana Sutra is very clear that the Tathagatagarbha is the Self
Chapter Twelve: On the Tathagata-DHATU
“Kasyapa said to the Buddha: “O World-Honoured One! Is there Self in the 25 existences or not?” The Buddha said: “O good man! “Self” means “Tathagatagarbha” [Buddha-Womb, Buddha-Embryo, Buddha-Nature]. Every being has Buddha-Nature. This is the Self. Such Self has, from the very beginning, been under cover of innumerable defilements.


as a matter of fact to say the True Self (Tathagatagarbha)is Not Self is considered a perversion/inversion in the Nirvana Sutra.

The Self’ signifies the Buddha; ‘the Eternal’ signifies the Dharmakaya; ‘Bliss’ signifies Nirvana, and ‘the Pure’ signifies Dharma. Bhiksus, why is it said that one who has the idea of a Self is arrogant and haughty, traversing round Samsara? Bhiksus, although you might say, ‘We also cultivate impermanence, suffering, and non-Self, these three kinds of cultivation have no real value/ meaning. I shall now explain the excellent three ways of cultivating Dharma. To think of suffering as Bliss and to think of Bliss as suffering, is perverse Dharma; to think of the impermanent as the Eternal and to think of the Eternal as impermanent is perverse Dharma; to think of the non-Self [anatman]as the Self [atman] and to think of the Self [atman] as non-Self [anatman] is perverse Dharma; to think of the impure as the Pure and to think of the Pure as impure is perverse Dharma. Whoever has these four kinds of perversion, that person does not know the correct cultivation of dharmas.


as a matter of fact the only time it is permitted in the sutras to consider the Tathagatagarbha to be Not Self is when you are coverting Non Buddhists who already have a mistaken idea of what the Self is(self of phenomena/self in the aggregates). this can be found in the Lankavatara Sutra.but this is only done for a specific type of people for the rest of us the Lankavatara Sutra states that the Queen Srimalas teachings on Tathagatagarbha is definite. and the Queen Srimalas official position on the Tahtagatagarbha is that it is True Self.


Tathagatagarbha is an inherent quality,

yes
but it is not an inherent thing

true
or an inherent self.

False
your ignoring and misrepresenting what is actually taught in the Tathagatagarbha Sutras
Tathagatagarbha Sutra
Arya-dharanish-vararaja Sutra [also known as the Tathagata-maha-karuna-nidesha Sutra]
Maha-pari-nirvana Sutra
Anguli-malya Sutra
Shri-mala-devi-simha-nanda Sutra
Jnana-loka-lamkara Sutra
Anuna-trapur-natva-nirdesha-parivarta Sutra
Mahab-jeri Sutra
Avi-kalpa-prave-sha-dharani Sutra.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:36 pm

"Self signifies Buddha" is not the same thing as suggesting "Buddha signifies self"
which is what you are asserting.
You can quote all the sutras you want.
They do not support what you suggest, that tathatagarbha is atman
rather than a description of the true nature of beings (what makes realization possible).
Your understanding is still backwards.

Anyway, this is a disagreement of interpretation more than anything else.
But if you can show where exactly this "self" is,
please do so.
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