"the Self is real" according to T. Page

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

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:37 pm

Son of Buddha, according to your understanding of things, please tell me:
1. Do the various Buddhas who are mentioned in the sutras all have the same "self" or do they have different selves?
2. Does this "self" include everything in the universe,
or is anything excluded from it,
or which does not arise as part of it?
In other words, is there the "true self" and then there's everything else,
or is there just the "true self" and then nothing beyond that?
.
.
.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:23 pm

Since I'm looking at Bronkhorst's book I thought I would see what he has to say about the tathagatagarbha doctrine. From p.154:
An even more interesting equivalence is found in the texts of the so-called Tathagatagarbha tradition. Tathagatagarbha means "embryo of the Buddha." This expression springs from the idea that all living beings carry, and have always carried, in themselves their own buddhahood in a latent form, veiled by external impurities caused by passions and other earthly factors. When the living being is freed from these accidental impurities and its "support is transformed" (asrayaparivrtti), then the tathagatagarbha, the "buddha embryo," becomes the dharmakaya, the "body of the teaching (dharma, singular) and of the perfected properties (dharma, plural)," i.e., the absolute aspect of fully realized buddhahood. In their essence, tathagatagarbha and dharmakaya are therefore identical. Moreover, the tathagatagarbha is conceived of as something that really exists. It is indeed the "highest reality," which has no fundamental connection with the doctrine of universal emptiness.

(The equivalence he had discussed in the previous paragraph was that of dharmakaya with dharmadhatu in certain Mahayana sutras.)
He continues:
Various texts use epithets for the tathagatagarbha and the dharmakaya like "eternal" (nitya), "unchanging" (dhruva), "joyful" (sukha), "self" (atman), and "pure" (subha, suci). We see in these the concept of the self that had been rejected by the Buddha. It appears that this idea held such a powerful sway that certain Buddhists could not resist it. We have already seen one reason for this attraction: it was unclear to many Buddhists why and how the Buddhist path could lead to liberation from rebirths. This explanation does not rule out the possibility that the notion of the tathagatagarbha as an eternal and joyful self may have originated within Buddhism, without non-Buddhist influence; or even that later non-Buddhists may have borrowed this notion from the Buddhists, as some scholars hold.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Son of Buddha » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:37 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:"Self signifies Buddha" is not the same thing as suggesting "Buddha signifies self"
which is what you are asserting.


You do realise that the next paragraph in that sutra actually states the Buddha IS the self dont you?
In the Tathagatagarbha sutras the Self IS the Buddha.

Because of these perversions/ inversions, mundane people know the letters but not the meaning [referents]. What is the meaning/referent? Non-Self is Samsara, the Self is the Tathagata
; impermanence is the sravakas and pratyekabuddhas, the Eternal is the Tathagata's Dharmakaya; suffering is all tirthikas, Bliss is Nirvana; the impure is all compounded [samskrta] dharmas , the Pure is the true Dharma that the Buddha and Bodhisattvas have. This is called non-perversion/ non-inversion.

You can quote all the sutras you want.
They do not support what you suggest, that tathatagarbha is atman

your in denial.....
CHAPTER TWELVE: ON THE TATHAGATA-DHATU syapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! Is th elf in the 25 existences or not?" The Buddha said: "O good man! "Self" means "Tathagatagarbha" . Every being has Buddha-Nature. This is the Self. Such Self has, from the very beginning, been under of innumerable defilements.
your in denial....As you can see the sutras do support what I am saying

rather than a description of the true nature of beings (what makes realization possible).
Your understanding is still backwards.

Im just copying and pasteing what the sutra says....so are you saying the Buddha Nature Sutras are backwards in their own understanding of the very teachings they are presenting.

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

the True Self is not a phenomenal Object it is a noumena.......can you show me where this "Nirvana" is?
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby asunthatneversets » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:38 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Various texts use epithets for the tathagatagarbha and the dharmakaya like "eternal" (nitya), "unchanging" (dhruva), "joyful" (sukha), "self" (atman), and "pure" (subha, suci). We see in these the concept of the self that had been rejected by the Buddha. It appears that this idea held such a powerful sway that certain Buddhists could not resist it. We have already seen one reason for this attraction: it was unclear to many Buddhists why and how the Buddhist path could lead to liberation from rebirths. This explanation does not rule out the possibility that the notion of the tathagatagarbha as an eternal and joyful self may have originated within Buddhism, without non-Buddhist influence; or even that later non-Buddhists may have borrowed this notion from the Buddhists, as some scholars hold.


Yet this premise is shown to be false given that 'atman' does not mean 'self' in this context, but rather 'essence' or 'nature'.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby Son of Buddha » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:16 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Son of Buddha, according to your understanding of things, please tell me:
1. Do the various Buddhas who are mentioned in the sutras all have the same "self" or do they have different selves?

Same Self (Enlightenment is of one taste)
2. Does this "self" include everything in the universe,
or is anything excluded from it,
or which does not arise as part of it?
In other words, is there the "true self" and then there's everything else,
or is there just the "true self" and then nothing beyond that?

Udana
There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not made, a not-conditioned. If, bhikkhus, there were no not-bor not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned,
no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore a escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned.

Udana
That which is born, that which has become into being, that which is conditioned, that which is dependent, that which is co-arisen, that which is created, that which is unstable, unsafe & prone to decay, that which is the bridge between birth and death, this seat of disease, with nutriment & birth as its cause, will all perish...!

It is not worth clinging to or rejoice in... The escape from this, is

calm, beyond the sphere of logic, being that which is safe and stable, that which is unborn, that
which is not dependent, but sorrow-free, and stainless, this realm is the final ceasing of all states involving any pain, this stilling of all construction, is absolute Bliss, and ultimate
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:17 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
Various texts use epithets for the tathagatagarbha and the dharmakaya like "eternal" (nitya), "unchanging" (dhruva), "joyful" (sukha), "self" (atman), and "pure" (subha, suci). We see in these the concept of the self that had been rejected by the Buddha. It appears that this idea held such a powerful sway that certain Buddhists could not resist it. We have already seen one reason for this attraction: it was unclear to many Buddhists why and how the Buddhist path could lead to liberation from rebirths. This explanation does not rule out the possibility that the notion of the tathagatagarbha as an eternal and joyful self may have originated within Buddhism, without non-Buddhist influence; or even that later non-Buddhists may have borrowed this notion from the Buddhists, as some scholars hold.


Yet this premise is shown to be false given that 'atman' does not mean 'self' in this context, but rather 'essence' or 'nature'.

I'm not sure what premise you are referring to. Bronkhorst seems to think that 'self' is a good translation of 'atman' in this context. I don't see much difference between saying that the tathagatagarbha/dharmakaya is an essence in beings and saying it's a self in beings. Words like 'self' and 'essence' are kind of vague anyway.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby rob h » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:29 pm

For those that think/feel/perceive that this is going around in circles, this might help. It's from a link posted in the Non-self thread :

If you develop the path of virtue, concentration, and discernment to a state of calm well-being and use that calm state to look at experience in terms of the Noble Truths, the questions that occur to the mind are not "Is there a self? What is my self?" but rather "Am I suffering stress because I'm holding onto this particular phenomenon? Is it really me, myself, or mine? If it's stressful but not really me or mine, why hold on?" These last questions merit straightforward answers, as they then help you to comprehend stress and to chip away at the attachment and clinging — the residual sense of self-identification — that cause it, until ultimately all traces of self-identification are gone and all that's left is limitless freedom.

In this sense, the anatta teaching is not a doctrine of no-self, but a not-self strategy for shedding suffering by letting go of its cause, leading to the highest, undying happiness. At that point, questions of self, no-self, and not-self fall aside. Once there's the experience of such total freedom, where would there be any concern about what's experiencing it, or whether or not it's a self?


Last edited by rob h on Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby asunthatneversets » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:40 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:I'm not sure what premise you are referring to. Bronkhorst seems to think that 'self' is a good translation of 'atman' in this context. I don't see much difference between saying that the tathagatagarbha/dharmakaya is an essence in beings and saying it's a self in beings. Words like 'self' and 'essence' are kind of vague anyway.


The premise I'm referring to is the very literal interpretation and translation of the term atman as 'self'. It was shown earlier in this thread, twice, that in this context the term atman [bdag nyid] means 'essence' or 'nature'.

There's a large difference between a self and an essence, especially when that essence is non-arising.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:42 pm

I believe Thanissaro Bhikkhu's approach is considered fairly unorthodox in Theravada, although that's not necessarily a bad thing.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:46 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:The premise I'm referring to is the very literal interpretation and translation of the term atman as 'self'. It was shown earlier in this thread, twice, that in this context the term atman [bdag nyid] means 'essence' or 'nature'.

There's a large difference between a self and an essence, especially when that essence is non-arising.

Well, take it up with Bronkhorst. Do the sutras he is discussing say that the Tathagatagarbha is non-arising? As he says
It is indeed the "highest reality," which has no fundamental connection with the doctrine of universal emptiness.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby rob h » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:55 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:I believe Thanissaro Bhikkhu's approach is considered fairly unorthodox in Theravada, although that's not necessarily a bad thing.


Didn't know that actually. It seems to help though and/or strike a decent balance.

Changed the wording in my last post too, from "For those that are bored of going around in circles", to "For those that think/feel/perceive that this is going around in circles". No disrespect intended, just thought the page/quote might help some.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby rob h » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:59 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:Well, take it up with Bronkhorst. Do the sutras he is discussing say that the Tathagatagarbha is non-arising? As he says
It is indeed the "highest reality," which has no fundamental connection with the doctrine of universal emptiness.


At risk of getting caught up in this myself (see what I did there?), doesn't the doctrine of universal emptiness not apply to the Tathagatagarbha anyway, because the doctrine only applies to dependent things, and the Garbha isn't dependent?
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:03 pm

rob h wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:Well, take it up with Bronkhorst. Do the sutras he is discussing say that the Tathagatagarbha is non-arising? As he says
It is indeed the "highest reality," which has no fundamental connection with the doctrine of universal emptiness.


At risk of getting caught up in this myself (see what I did there?), doesn't the doctrine of universal emptiness not apply to the Tathagatagarbha anyway, because the doctrine only applies to dependent things, and the Garbha isn't dependent?

Well, I'm not any kind of expert, I'm just trying to learn about the subject. Bronkhorst, on the other hand, is apparently a fairly good scholar. I will keep reading his book, and if I find more relevant passages I will post them.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby asunthatneversets » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:11 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:The premise I'm referring to is the very literal interpretation and translation of the term atman as 'self'. It was shown earlier in this thread, twice, that in this context the term atman [bdag nyid] means 'essence' or 'nature'.

There's a large difference between a self and an essence, especially when that essence is non-arising.

Well, take it up with Bronkhorst. Do the sutras he is discussing say that the Tathagatagarbha is non-arising? As he says
It is indeed the "highest reality," which has no fundamental connection with the doctrine of universal emptiness.

They say the tathāgatagarbha is ones latent potential for awakening, which is no different than saying the dharmatā of dharmins is always already the case, yet unrecognized.

His statement that the tathāgatagarbha has no fundamental connection to the doctrine of universal emptiness may simply mean that the doctrines themselves are unrelated. If he is implying however that the tathāgatagarbha itself has no connection to universal emptiness, then he has deviated from the meaning of the buddhadharma.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby rob h » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:13 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:Well, I'm not any kind of expert, I'm just trying to learn about the subject.


Same. The argument that it's beyond logic does seem to make sense and would probably agree with it, but can also see that some might think it's just a form of evading speaking about the subject, so it's not a good enough answer. Logic does seem to have definite limits though with some of these issues, and maybe no answer is really good enough and you just have to realize it via meditation/intuition, applying the middle way, or something related.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:22 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Son of Buddha, according to your understanding of things, please tell me:
Does this "self" include everything in the universe,
or is anything excluded from it,
or which does not arise as part of it?
In other words, is there the "true self" and then there's everything else,
or is there just the "true self" and then nothing beyond that?

Son of Buddha wrote:
Udana
That which is born, that which has become into being, that which is conditioned, that which is dependent, that which is co-arisen, that which is created, that which is unstable, unsafe & prone to decay, that which is the bridge between birth and death, this seat of disease, with nutriment & birth as its cause, will all perish...!

It is not worth clinging to or rejoice in... The escape from this, is

calm, beyond the sphere of logic, being that which is safe and stable, that which is unborn, that
which is not dependent, but sorrow-free, and stainless, this realm is the final ceasing of all states involving any pain, this stilling of all construction, is absolute Bliss, and ultimate


Your mastery of cut and paste is unsurpassed,
and clearly you are not fettered by any self-generated conceptualizations.
Nonetheless, could you give me a more direct answer,
according to your understanding:

Does this "self" that you assert
include everything in the universe,
or is anything excluded from it,
or which does not arise as part of it?

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

Postby rob h » Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:18 am

Another thing with the idea of a self : isn't it basically the same as some forms of Hinduism in that case, but instead of saying Brahman, the word Tathagata/Tathagatagarbha is used? I'm looking up Advaita Vedanta and can see hardly any difference when it comes to the idea of release to be honest. I'm not saying it's wrong, just that it's kind of bizarre how similar it is. (is this the case of a sub-school of Hinduism being heavily inspired by Buddhism? It looks like it.)

Example from the Advaita wiki page :

"Brahman" too has a broader meaning than "pure consciousness". According to Paul Deussen, Brahman is:

Satyam, "the true reality, which, however, is not the empirical one"
Jñãnam, "Knowledge which, however, is not split into the subject and the object"
anantam, "boundless or infinite"


That's from the section "Identity of Atman and Brahman" here :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advaita_vedanta#Philosophy

You could say the same about the Tathagatagarbha, right? My main concern with this philosophy is that people form concepts and attach to them, but I guess that with the right teachers/guidance/awareness that shouldn't be a problem. I'm starting to think moksha is fairly similar to nirvana, but at the same time release from death and rebirth is said to have been a late development in the concept, so surely inspired by Buddhism.

Adviata also has virtually the exact same three natures/svabhavas as Yogacara, which was also a surprise to see.
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby asunthatneversets » Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:08 am

rob h wrote:Another thing with the idea of a self : isn't it basically the same as some forms of Hinduism in that case, but instead of saying Brahman, the word Tathagata/Tathagatagarbha is used? I'm looking up Advaita Vedanta and can see hardly any difference when it comes to the idea of release to be honest. I'm not saying it's wrong, just that it's kind of bizarre how similar it is. (is this the case of a sub-school of Hinduism being heavily inspired by Buddhism? It looks like it.)

Example from the Advaita wiki page :

"Brahman" too has a broader meaning than "pure consciousness". According to Paul Deussen, Brahman is:

Satyam, "the true reality, which, however, is not the empirical one"
Jñãnam, "Knowledge which, however, is not split into the subject and the object"
anantam, "boundless or infinite"


That's from the section "Identity of Atman and Brahman" here :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advaita_vedanta#Philosophy

You could say the same about the Tathagatagarbha, right? My main concern with this philosophy is that people form concepts and attach to them, but I guess that with the right teachers/guidance/awareness that shouldn't be a problem. I'm starting to think moksha is fairly similar to nirvana, but at the same time release from death and rebirth is said to have been a late development in the concept, so surely inspired by Buddhism.

Adviata also has virtually the exact same three natures/svabhavas as Yogacara, which was also a surprise to see.


From earlier in this thread:

Malcolm wrote:There are various ways to interpret the Uttaratantra and tathāgatagarbha doctrine, one way is definitive in meaning, the other is provisional, according to Gorampa Sonam Senge, thus the tathāgatagarbha sutras become definitive or provisional depending on how they are understood. He states:

In the context of showing the faults of a literal [interpretation] – it's equivalence with the Non-Buddhist Self is that the assertion of unique eternal all pervading cognizing awareness of the Saṃkhya, the unique eternal pristine clarity of the Pashupattis, the unique all pervading intellect of the Vaiśnavas, the impermanent condition, the measure of one’s body, in the permanent self-nature of the Jains, and the white, brilliant, shining pellet the size of an atom, existing in each individual’s heart of the Vedantins are the same.

The definitive interpretation he renders as follows:

Therefor, the Sugatagarbha is defined as the union of clarity and emptiness but not simply emptiness without clarity, because that [kind of emptiness] is not suitable to be a basis for bondage and liberation. Also it is not simple clarity without emptiness, that is the conditioned part, because the Sugatagarbha is taught as unconditioned.

Khyentse Wangpo, often cited as a gzhan stong pa, basically says that the treatises of Maitreya elucidate the luminosity of the mind, i.e. its purity, whereas Nāgarjuna's treatises illustrate the empty nature of the mind, and that these two together, luminosity and emptiness free from extremes are to be understood as noncontradictory, which we can understand from the famous Prajñāpāramita citation "There is no mind in the mind, the nature of the mind is luminosity".
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby asunthatneversets » Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:10 am

Also this goes over the differences between tathāgatagarbha (of various interpretations) and the Brahman of Vedanta:

Madhyamika Buddhism vis-à-vis Hindu Vedanta (A Paradigm Shift) by Acharya Mahayogi Sridhar Rana Rinpoche
http://www.byomakusuma.org/Teachings/MadhyamikaBuddhismVisAVisHinduVedanta.aspx

Excerpt:
"If the Buddha nature (Tathagatagarbha/Sugatagarbha) was really existing (sat) and not empty (nishwabhava), in the Sutra sense, like the Brahman of the Hindus, then the same fault that ancient Buddhist masters blamed on the Hindu Atman-Brahman would boomerang on these Buddhists too. An unchanging really existing thing cannot function in any way as function implies change (Tatva Sanghraha, chapter 7, section E, text 332-335 of Shantarakshita commentary by Kamalashila). Therefore, how can such a Tathagatagarbha that is unchanging have any qualities as it cannot function in any way. If it is answered that the function of the Buddha’s qualities are inconceivable (acintya/sam gyi mikhyab), a further question arises that is, how can a conceivable Tathagatagarbha (as to say it exists is to bring it down to the level of conception and thus conceivable) have inconceivable qualities? For the Tathagarbha to have inconceivable qualities, it would also have to be inconceivable. We now come to the point of Nagarjuna that the Tathagarbha must also be free from the four extremes (tetralemma) which means empty of real existence. Therefore the whole Shentong/Rangtong issue is superfluous. And if the Tathagarbha becomes really existing then Buddhism loses its main thesis that differentiated it from Hinduism from its very inception.

We find even Hindu scholars as early as 300 AD like Vatsayana through Bharahar Sutra (Sutta) trying to prove that the Buddha actually taught the Atman but the Buddhists did not understand. This statement implies that there were no Buddhists who understood the Buddha. It further implies that until the time of Vatsayana, Buddhists did not agree with the Atman theory. However, in most kinds of Shentong (except the Dolpopa Shentong), Buddha nature is also empty and emptiness means unfindable that is free from the four extremes as per Nagarjuna-Chandrakirti.

In the tradition of the Mahasiddha Lord of Yogins (Yogeshwar) Virupad, who is one of the famous eighty four Mahasiddhas as well as a great scholar and an abbot (Upadhyaya/Khenpo) of Vikramashila; luminosity (prabhashwar), clarity or pure awareness is the store house consciousness (alaya vigyana) which is the relative truth and the Tathagarbha is emptiness and the ultimate truth. The unity of the two is the unity of Samsara and Nirvana which is inexpressible and experienced only by Aryas (Aryasamahita), those who have attained the Bhumis. In short, the unfindability of any true existence is the ultimate truth (paramartha satya) in Buddhism, and is diametrically opposed to the concept of a truly existing thing called Brahman, the ultimate truth in Hinduism.

There is also another problem with a really existing Tathagatagarbha that is not empty. If it is “really existing” then it cannot be indivisible with Samsara which is empty. Then the mind (Chitta) cannot be a Buddha and even worse is that the whole of Buddhist Tantra/Vajrayana would be subverted, as Samsara which is empty cannot be transformed into Nirvana, which according to the Shentong theory is not empty. The whole of Buddhist Tantra is based on the principle of transformation and that is why it is called the way of transformation (parinati marga). Vajrayana would become redundant and Sankara Vedanta would be the true Buddhist Way."
- Acharya Mahayogi Sridhar Rana Rinpoche


And,

"Hence,to say that the Tathagarbha exists is to make it conceivable, expressible and within the domain of concepts. As the inimitable Sakya Pandita says, that would be like bringing the Tathagarbha down to conceptual proliferation (prapancha). Or, in the context of this essay, it is to make the Tathagarbha just another synonym for the Hindu Atman-Brahman which it is not. In the Mulamadhyamaka Karika, Nagarjuna very clearly mentions ‘tathagato nisvabhavo….’ that is ‘the Tathagata is empty (nisvabhava) of real existence’ (Mulamadhyamaka Karika, Tathagata Parikshya, chapter 22, verse 16). If the Tathagata is empty (nisvabhava), how can the Tathagatagarbha be really existing like the Brahman of the Hindu?"
- Acharya Mahayogi Sridhar Rana Rinpoche
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Re: "the Self is real" according to T. Page

Postby muni » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:15 am

rob h wrote:
My main concern with this philosophy is that people form concepts and attach to them, but I guess that with the right teachers/guidance/awareness that shouldn't be a problem..


Me and my identification by dharma and other dharma material. Unseen attachment, another attachment in the row to things (dharmas). To use the tools and to let go should not become: to claim ownership on it.

With the right teacher/guidance/awareness there is no way to run astray in the woods of name and form. I believe you and trust this. :smile:
One also can say: without grasping mind there is no thing which can lead astray.

Navigation system should be so that not more ideations "about" are formed.

I remember a teaching about the solid serious dharma. Now by these solid serious dharma, we try to digest, in order to realize the meaning of the Buddha, while "Buddha" is "before" all these. This regarding the mistaken solidness.

Not sure this blah blah makes sense.

:anjali:
Write it all on water!
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