Mind versus Self?

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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby jeeprs » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:26 am

Duckfiasco wrote:What liberation is there in a self that thinks it's a liberated self?


Isn't the answer that the liberated one never thinks of him/her self?

This is one of the reasons why Buddha always referred to himself in the dialogs as 'Tathagatha', 'gone thus'. There really is *nobody* who has gone thus. There is no 'enlightened person' as such. Of course this is somewhat baffling and paradoxical to the normal mind.

Also bear in mind the 'undetermined questions' - those questions about whether the Buddha continues to exist after parinirvana (or not, or both, or neither) and the various other questions about whether self exists (or not, or both, and so on.) There are about ten in all. These are aimed at preventing speculation and attachment to ideas which form the basis for beliefs about things that are 'out of range' for knowledge.

This is why the emphasis remains on practice and direct perception of the causes and conditions of suffering, not theories about some ultimate reality. Which is not to say there ISN'T an ultimate reality, just not to speculate....
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby duckfiasco » Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:38 am

Mainly I ask because songhill seems to be insisting several things that don't jibe with what I've learned or read, so I'm curious to understand what angle he or she is coming from.
Please take the above post with a grain of salt.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Huifeng » Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:23 am

Pali English Dictionary:

Paccatta
Paccatta (adj.) [paṭi+attan] separate, individual; usually acc. ˚ŋ adv. separately, individually, singly, by himself, in his own heart D i.24 (yeva nibbuti viditā)

Just the usual sense of "atta" not as a (capital "S") "Self" or "Soul", but just as the English usage of a reflexive "self", by oneself, for oneself, etc.

So:
Aparitassaṃ paccattaññeva parinibbāyati

Being unagitated, by himself he attains complete nibbana (parinibbayati)
Being unagitated, he personally attains complete nibana.

Not to mention, grammatically, it's adverbial, so can't be "in the very self", which would be a locative (which it isn't).

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby JohnRammy » Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:41 pm

songhill wrote:"Holy Brahman"? I have no idea what you are talking about. I don't see any problem. Nirvana is not a thing like a strip of frying bacon in a skillet. It is a transcendent reality (it is also timeless, ultimate reality, the truly real, changeless, the immortal, transphenomenal, beyond thought [acinteyya] and does not rest on any other). For purposes of philosophical thought, it can be thought of as the logical counterpart of dependent arisings, for example, this universe and a strip of bacon, including the psycho-physical body of a fry cook.:D Obviously, the inmost or intrinsic self (paccattam) that attains complete nirvana is one with it. Kewl ain't it?


As a Mahayanist, you should be talking about Buddhahood, not nirvana.

Buddhahood, according to the rules, is predicated on understanding sunyata.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Jnana » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:53 pm

JohnRammy wrote:As a Mahayanist, you should be talking about Buddhahood, not nirvana.

Buddhas realize nirvāṇa -- nonabiding nirvāṇa (apratiṣṭha-nirvāṇa).
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Yamaoka » Sat Dec 29, 2012 5:33 pm

The reality is that Shakyamuni persistently refuses to answer these questions; as one authority said 'leaving a vacuum to be filled'. In subsequent 'mainstream' Buddhism it was filled by the dogmatic denial that Shakyamuni shunned. So if you want answers you must look elsewhere: Advaita and Theosophy because they don't refuse to discuss these issues. I would point to the Mahatma Letters and writings of T. Subba Row. In a more modern context I am impressed by the rigor of Swami Shivanandas reasoning. Its unusual to find someone in his tradition so well acquainted with Western Philosophy. All Buddhists should read his exposition of Shankaras arguments against the Madhyamika and Yogachara in his Analysis of the Brahma Sutra.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Dec 29, 2012 5:53 pm

Yamaoka wrote:The reality is that Shakyamuni persistently refuses to answer these questions;
Well, gee, we must be talking about a different Shakyamuni Buddha then coz the one I know answers this question pretty concisely and clearly:
viewtopic.php?f=77&t=10864&start=40#p138919
"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
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:15 pm

JohnRammy wrote:
songhill wrote:"Holy Brahman"? I have no idea what you are talking about. I don't see any problem. Nirvana is not a thing like a strip of frying bacon in a skillet. It is a transcendent reality (it is also timeless, ultimate reality, the truly real, changeless, the immortal, transphenomenal, beyond thought [acinteyya] and does not rest on any other). For purposes of philosophical thought, it can be thought of as the logical counterpart of dependent arisings, for example, this universe and a strip of bacon, including the psycho-physical body of a fry cook.:D Obviously, the inmost or intrinsic self (paccattam) that attains complete nirvana is one with it. Kewl ain't it?


As a Mahayanist, you should be talking about Buddhahood, not nirvana.

Buddhahood, according to the rules, is predicated on understanding sunyata.


Nirvana is certainly mentioned in the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, for example, "The Void refers to all births and deaths. The Non-Void refers to Great Nirvana. And the non-Self is nothing but birth and death. The Self refers to Great Nirvana." It is mentioned in the Maharatnakuta Sutra: "Nirvana is the pure Dharmakaya of the Tathagata." It is mentioned in the Mahâbherîhâraka Sutra: "Kâshyapa, accordingly at the time one becomes a Tathagata, a Buddha, he is in nirvana, and is referred to as “permanent” “steadfast”, “calm”, “eternal” and “atman".
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:35 pm

These quotes wouldn't happen to be from the dodgey translations done of major Tathagatagarbha texts by a certain sect looking to justify their eternalist view scripturally? Would they now? I mean, these quotes are not from purposefully deceptive sources now, are they? Sources that have been deemed questionable by a plethora of reliable Buddhist translators and intellectuals?

No?

So link us to the sources please.
: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
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:25 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:These quotes wouldn't happen to be from the dodgey translations done of major Tathagatagarbha texts by a certain sect looking to justify their eternalist view scripturally? Would they now? I mean, these quotes are not from purposefully deceptive sources now, are they? Sources that have been deemed questionable by a plethora of reliable Buddhist translators and intellectuals?

No?

So link us to the sources please.
:namaste:


Sure Greg. The first is from Yamamoto - you know, his translation of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra. The second is C.C. Chang's great translation, A Treasury of Mahayana Sutra, the last is from Florin Giripescu Sutton's great work on the Lankavatara Sutra. Now that we've cleared that up Grerg, the quotes I provided the denizens of this forum are from reputable scholars. They are not "dodgey translations." By the way, I have many other such translations from reputable scholars. But I am waiting for the right time to unleash them. :tongue:
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby futerko » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:29 pm

The view of the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra was corrected by the Lankavatara Sutra which indicated that while tathāgatagarbha might be mistaken for a substance of reality (i.e. a self/atman) it is in reality identical to the teaching of emptiness or no-self.

"Thus, Mahamati, the doctrine of the Tathagata-garbha is disclosed in order to awaken the philosophers from their clinging to the idea of the ego, so that those minds that have fallen into the views imagining the non-existent ego as real, and also into the notion that the triple emancipation is final, may rapidly be awakened to the state of supreme enlightenment."
Lankavatara Sutra, XXVIII.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:54 pm

futerko wrote:The view of the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra was corrected by the Lankavatara Sutra which indicated that while tathāgatagarbha might be mistaken for a substance of reality (i.e. a self/atman) it is in reality identical to the teaching of emptiness or no-self.

"Thus, Mahamati, the doctrine of the Tathagata-garbha is disclosed in order to awaken the philosophers from their clinging to the idea of the ego, so that those minds that have fallen into the views imagining the non-existent ego as real, and also into the notion that the triple emancipation is final, may rapidly be awakened to the state of supreme enlightenment."
Lankavatara Sutra, XXVIII.


Also mention this:

"Those who propound the doctrine of non-Self are to be shunned in the religous rites of the monks, and not to be spoken to, for they are offenders of the Buddhist doctrines, having embraced the dual views of Being and non-Being" (Lankavatara Sutra).


Here is Suzuki's translation:

"Those who hold the theory of non-ego are injurers of the Buddhist doctrines, they are given up to the dualistic views of being and non-being; they are to be ejected by the
convocation of the Bhikshus and are never to be spoken to."


Here is the Sanskrit:

nairaatmyavaadino 'bhaa.syaa bhik.sukarmaa.ni varjaya/
baadhakaa buddhadharmaa.naa.m sadasatpak.sad.r.s.taya.h// [Lanka X: 359-60 (vv. 762-71)]
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:06 pm

songhill wrote:Sure Greg. The first is from Yamamoto - you know, his translation of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra. The second is C.C. Chang's great translation, A Treasury of Mahayana Sutra, the last is from Florin Giripescu Sutton's great work on the Lankavatara Sutra. Now that we've cleared that up Grerg, the quotes I provided the denizens of this forum are from reputable scholars. They are not "dodgey translations." By the way, I have many other such translations from reputable scholars. But I am waiting for the right time to unleash them. :tongue:
Thank you!
: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
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:08 pm

songhill wrote:
"Those who propound the doctrine of non-Self are to be shunned in the religous rites of the monks, and not to be spoken to, for they are offenders of the Buddhist doctrines, having embraced the dual views of Being and non-Being." (Lankavatara Sutra).
"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
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby futerko » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:15 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
songhill wrote:
"Those who propound the doctrine of non-Self are to be shunned in the religous rites of the monks, and not to be spoken to, for they are offenders of the Buddhist doctrines, having embraced the dual views of Being and non-Being." (Lankavatara Sutra).


That's actually in the Sagāthakam, and not really the main body of the Lankavatara Sutra, but in the rather contradictory verses added at a later date.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:03 pm

I understand that the term/title "Sagathakam" was the brainchild of Nanjio Bunyiu who edited the Lanka which Suzuki uses for his translation. The Lanka had different divisions depending whose translation you read. Shikshananda had ten chapters; Bodhiruchi 18 chapters; Gunabhadra had four parts. To say that the 10th chapter or Bunyiu's Sagathakam is not really part of the main body is, to say the least, speculative.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby futerko » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:26 pm

songhill wrote:I understand that the term/title "Sagathakam" was the brainchild of Nanjio Bunyiu who edited the Lanka which Suzuki uses for his translation. The Lanka had different divisions depending whose translation you read. Shikshananda had ten chapters; Bodhiruchi 18 chapters; Gunabhadra had four parts. To say that the 10th chapter or Bunyiu's Sagathakam is not really part of the main body is, to say the least, speculative.


You also omitted Suzuki's footnotes to those entries which read,

"The statements so far made here regarding an ego-soul (ātman or pudgala) as they stand seem to contradict one another, and some really violate the Buddhist doctrine of Non-ātman as far as we know."

"This and the following verse again seem to contradict the Buddhist doctrine of non-ego. It is not easy to determine the purport of these verses as they stand all by themselves without any explanatory prose. In fact these verses in the Sagāthakam which have no direct connection with the main text, except those that are quite obvious in meaning, are mostly difficult to know precisely what they intend to signify."

So the speculation is due to the fact that the text itself is contradictory. Possibly due to the Yogacharin view that mind has some independent inherent existence.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:23 pm

Consider the analogy of a parking space with no car in it.

If you say, "it's empty" from the perspective that because there is no car in it, that its true nature is revealed as a vacant parking spot, this is like asserting "non-ego" or "non-self" as a specific, inherently existing condition. This is what is being regarded as incorrect.

If you say "it's empty" because, car or no car, the parking spot has no intrinsic reality of its own but is merely a composite of asphalt, yellow paint and space, none of which themselves has any truly inherent existence either, that is the correct understanding, the parking spot is empty, even if there is a big truck parked in it.

So, the point is, if you just replace "self" or "atman" with "no self" or "anatman" you haven't really accomplished anything. You've just painted the same misunderstanding a different color. Or, as was mentioned, you are still dwelling within the dualistic framework of self vs. no-self.

But true understanding lies beyond that. "no inherent nature" isn't a thing any more than silence is a thing that arises and replaces sound when the radio is shut off. That's why such elusive terminology is often use to describe it, such as "the sound of one hand clapping" and so forth.

It's like cleaning dirt from a window. When you remove the dirt, there isn't a layer of "clearness' on the window. If the dirt is totally removed, one does not even see the window. The whole context of clean vs. dirty isn't even a factor at that point. So, it's not as though "non-self" suddenly shows up to take the place of "self".

That is my understanding, anyway.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:56 pm

futerko wrote:
songhill wrote:I understand that the term/title "Sagathakam" was the brainchild of Nanjio Bunyiu who edited the Lanka which Suzuki uses for his translation. The Lanka had different divisions depending whose translation you read. Shikshananda had ten chapters; Bodhiruchi 18 chapters; Gunabhadra had four parts. To say that the 10th chapter or Bunyiu's Sagathakam is not really part of the main body is, to say the least, speculative.


You also omitted Suzuki's footnotes to those entries which read,

"The statements so far made here regarding an ego-soul (ātman or pudgala) as they stand seem to contradict one another, and some really violate the Buddhist doctrine of Non-ātman as far as we know."

"This and the following verse again seem to contradict the Buddhist doctrine of non-ego. It is not easy to determine the purport of these verses as they stand all by themselves without any explanatory prose. In fact these verses in the Sagāthakam which have no direct connection with the main text, except those that are quite obvious in meaning, are mostly difficult to know precisely what they intend to signify."

So the speculation is due to the fact that the text itself is contradictory. Possibly due to the Yogacharin view that mind has some independent inherent existence.


Suzuki's opinion don't make it a fact that pro-atman passages from the 10th chapter/Sagathakam are outside of the scope of Mahayana. How does Suzuki explain the pro-atman passages from the Mahâyâna-mahâparinirvâna-sûtra or from the Aṅgulimâla-sûtra and Mahâbherîhâraka-sûtra? Are we to chuck these Sutras into the dust bin along with the 10th chapter of the Lanka because a few people are offended?
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby futerko » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:47 am

songhill wrote:Suzuki's opinion don't make it a fact that pro-atman passages from the 10th chapter/Sagathakam are outside of the scope of Mahayana. How does Suzuki explain the pro-atman passages from the Mahâyâna-mahâparinirvâna-sûtra or from the Aṅgulimâla-sûtra and Mahâbherîhâraka-sûtra? Are we to chuck these Sutras into the dust bin along with the 10th chapter of the Lanka because a few people are offended?


Indeed, as I said before, they do seem consistent with a Yogacharin viewpoint. Consider what Sutton says about the concept of tathāgatagarbha having several possible meanings; as an ontological reality or true self, as dharmakaya as ultimate reality, or as the womb or matrix of Buddhahood existing in all beings (tathāgata-gotra-saṃbhava), which provides beings with the possibility of awakening. (Sutton, Existence and Enlightenment in the Laṅkāvatāra-sūtra, p.53)

Even Sutton himself only really considers the last one as having any soteriological significance precisely because it does not posit some kind of alternate reality which operates beyond or behind appearances.
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