Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

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

Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby wtompepper » Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:20 pm

I’m really uncertain about whether to comment here. I initially thought I wouldn’t, but I guess I’m hopelessly obsessive.

Matt 3: My point exactly is that there is no “true, ideal Buddhism,” and that we can get nowhere at all in reducing suffering until we abandon this particular attachment. We see this attachment most strongly when someone quotes sutras as “evidence” of a truth, for instance. This gets us nowhere, and does not promote understanding of reality as it actually is. My goal is to stop trying to reconcile the contradictory messages in the Pali canon or any Buddhist texts, to admit them as contradictory ideas, to recognize that the Buddhist tradition was for a long time engaged NOT in asserting revealed truths but in trying to come to a greater understanding of reality as it is, and this often required rigorous thought and intense debate (Witness Vasubandhu, Nagarjuna, Chandrakirit, Dharmakirti, the list could go on). This part of the tradition is excluded from contemporary western Buddhism, for the most part, and so we get ideology and illusions presented as deep and mystical “truths,” instead of real effort to arrive at truth. My position is that there is truth, that we can increasingly approach it, but never finally arrive at it, and anything that increases our understanding of truth, or reality, is good an useful, and anything that prevents such increase inevitably leads to suffering. Some practices and concepts in the Buddhist tradition work toward increasing understanding, and other try to prevent it and to turn Buddhism into a conservative ideology, and we can choose to use the former and drop the latter only once we do the work of discovering which is which. In short, you seem to be trying to argue against me, but you are arguing against something I would absolutely not agree with—much of Mahayana Buddhism does teach exactly that there is NO independent and permanent consciousness, and that, I would say, is the part of Mahayana that we should make use of.

Viniketa: I’m pretty sure I didn’t say anything about alayavijnana—but my position would be that it is not permanent, although it does endure over a period of time. What I am saying implies a subtle belief in permanence, in an atman, is what you call “the original purity of tathāgatagarbha.” To “revert” to an “original” state that preexists the samsaric world is to assume a transcendent (even if “non-conceptual”) consciousness or “soul” of some kind. This is a fairly standard argument in the history of Buddhism—and was a quite intense argument when the tathagatagarbha idea was first introduced.

Pueraeternus: One could surely find passages in the Pali canon that disagree with my position, and many that agree with it as well. I take it as a given that the Pali canon is a compilation of philosophical thought that will contain many contradictory positions, and not a unified revealed word of a divinity. Mara can quote sutras to his purpose, right? I do take the nihilist position, as well: the position that we must accept our absolute impermanence to live fully. I guess from your moniker that you are not keen to accept this possibility?

I'll no doubt regret commenting, but I'll probably keep reading, so why not?
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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby pueraeternus » Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:04 pm

wtompepper wrote:Pueraeternus: One could surely find passages in the Pali canon that disagree with my position, and many that agree with it as well. I take it as a given that the Pali canon is a compilation of philosophical thought that will contain many contradictory positions, and not a unified revealed word of a divinity. Mara can quote sutras to his purpose, right?


Well, I am not sure if taking this position would advance one's understanding when it comes to a body of text like the Pali Nikayas, since it basically just allows one to accept those suttas that confirms one's biases and relegate unfavorable ones to Mara. Sure, there are textual analysis and comparative methods that allows one to determine which portion of the Canon was earlier or later, unique to specific schools, scribal errors here and there, etc, but such methods should not be used to abolish parts of the Canon that do not fit into our ideas.

wtompepper wrote:I do take the nihilist position, as well: the position that we must accept our absolute impermanence to live fully. I guess from your moniker that you are not keen to accept this possibility?


The Buddha in many suttas have warned against such nihilism, and your position goes against the fundamental teachings of karma and cyclic rebirth. So no, I do not accept such a position.
My handle "pueraeternus"? Oh - that is just a reference to my psychological archetype.
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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby viniketa » Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:18 pm

wtompepper wrote:IViniketa: I’m pretty sure I didn’t say anything about alayavijnana—but my position would be that it is not permanent, although it does endure over a period of time. What I am saying implies a subtle belief in permanence, in an atman, is what you call “the original purity of tathāgatagarbha.” To “revert” to an “original” state that preexists the samsaric world is to assume a transcendent (even if “non-conceptual”) consciousness or “soul” of some kind. This is a fairly standard argument in the history of Buddhism—and was a quite intense argument when the tathagatagarbha idea was first introduced.


The tathāgatagarbha is hardly an atman. Tathāgatagarbha is manifold, not individual, so cannot be an individual "continuance" of mind (atman). There is no "samsāric world". Minds are samsāric; not worlds. If no consciousness transcends intellect, then Buddha was a fool and there is no use in learning about his teachings.

Let's leave tathāgatagarbha aside for the moment and talk strictly of dharmatā, which is outside of time (time is conditioned). Dharmatā is as unconditioned as ākāśa. As such, dharmatā is neither eternal nor non-eternal, both, or neither. Strictly speaking, dharmatā is beyond words. If we are to communicate, we use words. Dharmatā is the pure potentiality of the universe, all the possibilities of becoming. One might say it is karma before intention and before action. The "clean slate", tabula rasa. Dharmatā has no identity, much less a personal identity. How can one compare such to a "soul"?

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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby Jnana » Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:25 pm

viniketa wrote:The tathāgatagarbha is hardly an atman. Tathāgatagarbha is manifold, not individual, so cannot be an individual "continuance" of mind (atman).

First, the recognition of the continuance of an individual mental continuum doesn't entail assertion of an Ātman. If it did, all Buddhist schools, including Sarvāstivāda & Theravāda, would be subject the faults of eternalism.

Secondly, there are various different interpretations of tathāgatagarbha theory. For example, Sajjana's Mahāyānottaratantraśāstropadeśa equates tathāgatagarbha with luminous mind, and then explains that although this luminous nature is not-conditioned (unlike ordinary states of mind that are contingent upon the four conditions), the luminous nature arises due to the previous moment of that same luminous mind. Shakya Chogden has a similar understanding, 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."

viniketa wrote:Let's leave tathāgatagarbha aside for the moment and talk strictly of dharmatā, which is outside of time (time is conditioned). Dharmatā is as unconditioned as ākāśa. As such, dharmatā is neither eternal nor non-eternal, both, or neither. Strictly speaking, dharmatā is beyond words. If we are to communicate, we use words. Dharmatā is the pure potentiality of the universe, all the possibilities of becoming.

Again, Tibetan commentators such as Go Lotsawa maintain that space is also momentary. Relying on the Dharmadharmatāvibhāgavṛtti, he states:

    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.

He then applies this analysis of space to the buddha element:

    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.
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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby PorkChop » Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:13 pm

wtompepper wrote:Matt 3: My point exactly is that there is no “true, ideal Buddhism,” and that we can get nowhere at all in reducing suffering until we abandon this particular attachment. We see this attachment most strongly when someone quotes sutras as “evidence” of a truth, for instance. This gets us nowhere, and does not promote understanding of reality as it actually is. My goal is to stop trying to reconcile the contradictory messages in the Pali canon or any Buddhist texts, to admit them as contradictory ideas, to recognize that the Buddhist tradition was for a long time engaged NOT in asserting revealed truths but in trying to come to a greater understanding of reality as it is, and this often required rigorous thought and intense debate (Witness Vasubandhu, Nagarjuna, Chandrakirit, Dharmakirti, the list could go on).


If you think that Nagarjuna did not quote sutras as a basis for his ideas, then you need to re-read your Nagarjuna because this is not correct.

Your definition of "permanent" also seems to be a bit suspect.
See Jnana's post for the definitions of "permanent" & "eternal", as well as for the nature of mind - according to all traditional forms of Buddhism.
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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:59 pm

There's a quote by Longchenpa out there somewhere where he states that the tathāgatagarbha is a concept used to instill faith and motivation in aspirants who have little experience, but lacks reality apart from being implemented in that way. Found that interesting...

If anyone knows that quote please post because I've been trying to track it down for awhile!
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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby wtompepper » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:09 pm

Porkchop: you're a very careless reader. Where do I claim that Nagarjuna never quotes sutras? I said that sutras are not "evidence" of anything; rather, their truth must be argued for--which Nagarjunas does at great length. If you have a definition of "permanent" other than "lasting unchanged indefinitely", then my use of term may indeed seem "suspect" to you--I used the term in its ordinary sense, assuming that would be clear enough.

Vinika: You've never heard the term "samsaric world" before? How strangely concrete your thinking is. Anything that is outside of time and not conditioned is exactly the definition of atman.

I am a bit puzzled here. The positions asserted (and never argued for, simply asserted from some position of "authority") are exactly those of Advaita Vendanta. I was under the impression this was a Buddhist discussion forum.
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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:30 pm

Anything that is outside of time and not conditioned is exactly the definition of atman.


Erm..do you accept the allusions to Nirvana as explained (if such a thing can be explained) in the Pali canon? If Nirvana is not outside of time and unconditioned..then what is it? Is that Atman too?

I am really confused about what you just said, and we don't even need to talk about stuff beyond the Pal canon for it. There is a ton in the Pali Canon about an unconditioned, timeless, ultimate reality. Are you asserting a Buddhism without Tathgatagarbha..or a Buddhism entirely devoid of an experience of an unconditioned state? If it's the latter...I don't really see how that's Buddhism exactly.

Is there some nuance i'm missing due to less knowledge of sutra on my part, or are you actually advocating a Buddhism that involves no experience of unconditioned reality?
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:05 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby viniketa » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:57 pm

Jnana wrote:First, the recognition of the continuance of an individual mental continuum doesn't entail assertion of an Ātman. If it did, all Buddhist schools, including Sarvāstivāda & Theravāda, would be subject the faults of eternalism.


Beg pardon, I should have specified "eternal continuance of an indvidual [identity]".

Jnana wrote:Again, Tibetan commentators such as Go Lotsawa maintain that space is also momentary. Relying on the Dharmadharmatāvibhāgavṛtti, he states:

    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.

He then applies this analysis of space to the buddha element:

    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 am not familiar with the work you quote nor the Tibetan terms. However, from the wording of the quote, it would seem kha rather than ākāśa is the topic of discussion. Kha is conditioned space, such as that contained in a jar, as opposed to unconditioned "deep space", ākāśa.

wtompepper wrote:Vinika: You've never heard the term "samsaric world" before? How strangely concrete your thinking is. Anything that is outside of time and not conditioned is exactly the definition of atman.


I've heard "samsāric world", that doesn't mean I accept the notion. I suppose you place no stock in the idea of either pratisaṃkhyānirodha or apratisaṃkhyānirodha. How strange.

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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby wtompepper » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:03 pm

Johnny Dangerous: I accept Nirvana as it is explained in Nagarjuna's MMK--as a relation to or way of living in conventional reality. As such, it is not permanent (again, in the ordinary sense of that term), and is itself "empty" of an essential nature, because it is a relation to something that is impermanent. In Madhyamaka Buddhism, then, the goal is not to have an "experience of an unconditioned state" but to realize and accept that there is no such experience.

As for passages in the Pali Canon, well, it's huge, and quite contradictory. I couldn't make any sweeping generalization about it. Do you have a particular sutra in mind?

Viniketa: No, as I am a Mahayana Buddhist I do not place any stock in concepts like "pratisaṃkhyānirodha or apratisaṃkhyānirodha." These are also concepts of an unconditioned state, not subject to impermanence and dependent arising, and so are also a kind of clinging to the idea of a permanent self. We clearly do not accept the same school of Buddhism, and there is no point quibbling about definitions. On your definition of "atman," an unconditioned state is not an atman, and on my definition that is exactly what an atman is. So, beginning from these two different positions, the questions, for me, become which belief can be supported beyond appeal to sutra citations, and which belief leads to less human suffering?

Are these two questions of importance at all in your position? For some schools they would be irrelevant, because the only evidence possible is scriptural authority--the word of Buddha--because we are not enlightened and cannot approach truth on our own, and because human suffering now is irrelevant since our suffering leads to permanent bliss in the afterlife. Is this your position? Is present human suffering of importance in your school of Buddhism? Is there any epistemic instrument other than authority that counts for evidence for you? If so, what is it?
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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby Jnana » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:16 pm

viniketa wrote:I am not familiar with the work you quote nor the Tibetan terms. However, from the wording of the quote, it would seem kha rather than ākāśa is the topic of discussion. Kha is conditioned space, such as that contained in a jar, as opposed to unconditioned "deep space", ākāśa.

The context is the use of space (ākāśa), gold, and water as examples analogous to the revolved basis (āśrayaparivṛtti) in the Dharmadharmatāvibhāgavṛtti, where Go Lotsawa points out that the examples refer to a continuum of impure and pure states. The full passage can be read in A Direct Path to the Buddha Within, pp. 338-39.

But more to the point is that not all Buddhist commentators accept that space or tathāgatagarbha transcend momentariness. In point of fact, not all Buddhist commentators accept that space is unconditioned either.
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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby Jnana » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:31 pm

wtompepper wrote:As for passages in the Pali Canon, well, it's huge, and quite contradictory. I couldn't make any sweeping generalization about it.

Characterizing the Pāli canon as "quite contradictory" is itself a sweeping generalization, and I'd suggest it's an inaccurate one. The Pāli Nikāyas display a remarkably high degree of internal consistency.

wtompepper wrote:Are these two questions of importance at all in your position? For some schools they would be irrelevant, because the only evidence possible is scriptural authority--the word of Buddha--because we are not enlightened and cannot approach truth on our own, and because human suffering now is irrelevant since our suffering leads to permanent bliss in the afterlife.

I took a quick look around the Speculative Non-Buddhism site the other day and I noticed that you and some of your comrades have a bit of a penchant for drawing rather ridiculous caricatures of other Buddhist traditions. All this does is set up straw man arguments. I suspect that you can probably do better than that, given that this forum is frequented by a very diverse group of Buddhist practitioners and such caricatures can be seen as attempted insults.
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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:32 pm

wtompepper wrote:Johnny Dangerous: I accept Nirvana as it is explained in Nagarjuna's MMK--as a relation to or way of living in conventional reality. As such, it is not permanent (again, in the ordinary sense of that term), and is itself "empty" of an essential nature, because it is a relation to something that is impermanent. In Madhyamaka Buddhism, then, the goal is not to have an "experience of an unconditioned state" but to realize and accept that there is no such experience.



Well we are getting to the point where I simply am not well read enough to be specific as I would like (and perhaps this is causing me to miss some vital part of your argument as well), but intuitively I don't quite understand how your position is anything other than "Nihilism with Karma", it is just Nihilism carried out over many lifetimes, where oblivion requires Buddhism rather than just dying. If Nirvana is simply some sort of metaphor for non existence, for complete lack of consciousness why is not explained as such, it would not have been hard to put it that way.
If the extinguishing talked about was simply the extinguishing of of consciousness, that there is no consciousness outside of the conditioned..wouldn't the Buddha have by definition been a nihilist, and wouldn't he have explained his position more succinctly? Again, why even have something called "Nirvana", or expound on it if it impossible to experience?

As to the stuff in the Pali cannon, there are a ton of places where experience of the unconditioned is laid out as a goal and possibility, though acknowledged as being indefinable.. I can find something and quote it if you want, but seriously it's all over, at least by my readings. "Exist and not exist do not apply" with regard to questions about it - this is the sort of phrasing i'm thinking of. It sounds like your position is that in fact, "not exist" applies to the unconditioned, since there is no perception outside of conditioned things.


Maybe this is more like it though:

Other than a difference of semantics, I don't really understand how "experiencing an unconditioned state" or "realizing there is no such thing" are not essentially the same goal, the very act of separating the two seems to be imposing specifics of language on what is just a best effort to describe something that is outside the scope of language anyway. You could argue that "your version" is better because it utilizing negative language of something not existing, rather than presenting the unconditioned as an existing "thing"...but I think if we remove some trappings..they could actually be the same thing?
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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby PorkChop » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:00 am

wtompepper wrote:Porkchop: you're a very careless reader. Where do I claim that Nagarjuna never quotes sutras? I said that sutras are not "evidence" of anything; rather, their truth must be argued for--which Nagarjunas does at great length.


Oh, I freely admit the reading comprehension of an ADHD kindergartener on crack, but the point i was trying to make was this:

you said, and I quote
wtompepper wrote: We see this attachment most strongly when someone quotes sutras as “evidence” of a truth, for instance.


to quote Nagarjuna:
Nagarjuna wrote:Mulamadhyamakakarika
http://www.aaari.info/notes/03-06-06Tam2.pdf
25. Those who see essence and essential difference
And entities and nonentities,
They do not see
The truth taught by the Buddha.
26. The Victorious One, through knowledge
Of reality and unreality,
In the Discourse to Katyayana
Refuted both “it is” and “it is not”.

27. The Victorious Conqueror has said that whatever
Is deceptive is false.
Compounded phenomena
are all deceptive.
Therefore they are all false.


We see here that Nagarjuna quotes Sutra as "evidence" for a truth, ie. that compounded phenomena are deceptive and therefore they are false.
According to you this denotes attachment, but you then go on to say that Nagarjuna did not do this.

wtompepper wrote:If you have a definition of "permanent" other than "lasting unchanged indefinitely", then my use of term may indeed seem "suspect" to you--I used the term in its ordinary sense, assuming that would be clear enough.


My issue was with this quote:
wtompepper wrote:The dominant approach here seems to be what I call the "half-strength" version of anatman, which still believes in some kind of essence or consciousness that is permanent and separate from the phenomenal world--and while it may be possible to persuade someone of this version of anatman with kind words (I think Thich Nhat Hanh has succeeded at doing so for many Americans), this is not a goal I would be interested in, because it seems to me that it only makes it that much harder to later accept the full-strength understanding of anatman.


Because I disagree with the assessment that TNH teaches anatta as "lasting unchanged indefinitely".
Heck, TNH's "Interbeing" explicitly states "impermanence".
http://spot.colorado.edu/~chernus/Nonvi ... atHanh.htm
http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhis ... st%204.htm
Thich Nhat Hanh wrote:Dear Thay, yesterday you spoke about contemplating impermanence in accordance with the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing. My question is this: when we contemplate impermanence, do we include in that contemplation the phenomena of time and space? Should they also be considered as impermanent?

We know that when we really touch the nature of impermanence, we also touch the nature of interbeing. Impermanence makes life possible, makes things possible. To be impermanent means not to be the same thing in two consecutive moments, and there is always something coming in and something going out. Every thing is interacting with every other thing, and therefore touching impermanence is also touching interbeing. Interbeing means you don’t have a separate existence, you inter-are with everything else.

When we contemplate space, we know that space cannot be space by itself alone. Space has to interbe with time and matter, and everything. When we look into the nature of space, we also touch the nature of impermanence, we also touch the nature of interbeing, and we can see everything else in space. We can see matter in space; we can see time in space. Suppose we talk about spring. What is spring? Spring sounds like time—spring is followed by summer, then fall and winter—but spring is very much involved with space, because when it is spring here in Europe, it is not spring in Australia. So we know that in space there is time, and in time there is space. Even what we call the present moment cannot be by itself alone. The present moment has to be with past moments and future moments.

When you look at the sun in the morning—where I sit in the morning I always see the sun rising from the horizon—you might think that you are seeing the sun of the present moment; but scientists tell us that that is the sun of eight minutes ago. The image of the sun you see is an image sent by the sun to you eight minutes ago. So the present moment has to do with space, not only with time. But you can still live in the present moment even if you know that this is the image of the sun eight minutes ago. The present moment has to do with the "here", and therefore time and space are not separate entities, and looking into the one, we see the all. The insight of interbeing helps us to understand better the nature of non-self, the nature of impermanence.

Many teachers, many philosophers, spoke about impermanence. Heraclitus and Confucius also spoke about impermanence, but the impermanence spoken of by the Buddha is not a philosophy. It is an instrument for your practice of looking deeply. So use the key of impermanence in order to unlock the door of reality, and when you use the key of impermanence you unlock the nature of interbeing, of no self, of emptiness. That is why you should not look on impermanence as a notion, a theory, or a philosophy, but as an instrument offered by the Buddha so that we can practice looking deeply and discover the true nature of reality.
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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby Zenshin 善心 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:34 am

Jnana wrote:
The individual chapters are also available on Scribd here.

:coffee:


bookmarked, :thanks:
All beings since their first aspiration till the attainment of Buddhahood are sheltered under the guardianship of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who, responding to the requirements of the occasion, transform themselves and assume the actual forms of personality.

Thus for the sake of all beings Buddhas and Bodhisattvas become sometimes their parents, sometimes their wives and children, sometimes their kinsmen, sometimes their servants, sometimes their friends, sometimes their enemies, sometimes reveal themselves as devas or in some other forms.


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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby pueraeternus » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:02 am

Jnana wrote:I took a quick look around the Speculative Non-Buddhism site the other day and I noticed that you and some of your comrades have a bit of a penchant for drawing rather ridiculous caricatures of other Buddhist traditions.


Ah - so desu ka!
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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby conebeckham » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:06 am

I find it amusing that someone can say they have an easier time "grasping" a notion of Anatman, Nonself, or....dare I say, Sunyata, while they feel that Tathagatagarbha can only be taken on faith, as it's not within the realm of their experience.


But hey, that's just me.
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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:14 am

conebeckham wrote:I find it amusing that someone can say they have an easier time "grasping" a notion of Anatman, Nonself, or....dare I say, Sunyata, while they feel that Tathagatagarbha can only be taken on faith, as it's not within the realm of their experience.


But hey, that's just me.


Well there is a simple way to "See" sunyata or anatman though...you can take a tractor or something, and reason out among it's parts that nothing exists that is a tractor, and from this you can see that it's only inherent quality is..lack of an inherent tractor. Or we can can do the same with ourselves to "see" anatman following the component parts we see there is no inherent self, and no self to those parts if we examine them etc.. arguably I guess we are "seeing" dependent origination in action too. Of course purely an intellectual understanding, but it's a beginning..and at least for me was something of a turning point, though i'm sure it's old hat to others.

If there is such a method to make Buddha nature self-evident, I haven't been exposed to it.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby conebeckham » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:40 am

Then you need to find the teacher appropriate for you..
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Re: Critical Buddhism and "full strength anatman"

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:45 am

conebeckham wrote:Then you need to find the teacher appropriate for you..




Surely if it's worth commenting on on a forum, it merits further explanation than "go find a teacher", doesn't it? I am not entirely new and i've had teachers..nonetheless, the thought -experiment with anatman can be done by anyone at all, with basic reasoning capability and is commonly found in books, typical basic teachings at centers etc, doesn't even require a meditative state to grasp in a basic sense..but i've never seen something similar for realization Buddha nature beyond stuff which seems less intuitive.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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