The concept of being already perfect

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The concept of being already perfect

Postby alwayslearning » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:19 am

Hi - I am pretty new with all this Dharma stuff. Can someone tell me if there is a single term for the conceptual idea that we are already perfect, already pure, already liberated as beings?
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Re: The concept of being already perfect

Postby ground » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:41 am

alwayslearning wrote:Hi - I am pretty new with all this Dharma stuff. Can someone tell me if there is a single term for the conceptual idea that we are already perfect, already pure, already liberated as beings?

It is called Upaya, skillful means but actually it is fostering delusion. Why? Because there is neither perfection nor imperfection, neither pure nor impure, neither liberated nor being caught. But since ordinarily what perceives itself as "a being" and as "I" is attracted by words that engender affirmation of self and agreeable feelings and hope these words (perfect, pure, liberated) are utilized to attract attention and cause agreeable feelings and faith. :sage:
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Re: The concept of being already perfect

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:46 am

alwayslearning wrote:Hi - I am pretty new with all this Dharma stuff. Can someone tell me if there is a single term for the conceptual idea that we are already perfect, already pure, already liberated as beings?

Sugatagarbha.

Because the perfect buddhas’s kaya is all-pervading,
Because reality is undifferentiated,
And because they possess the potential,
Beings always have the buddha nature.


http://books.google.com/books?id=Tz_Gnh ... e&q&f=true
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Re: The concept of being already perfect

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:33 am

Tathagatagarbha is another term for this concept.
: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: The concept of being already perfect

Postby Seishin » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:27 pm

I don't like viewing this concept as being already perfect, but a bit like how Lotus Flowers grow out of the crud at the bottom of a pond. Our capability is already there, we just need to rise above the crap to let our flowers bloom :twothumbsup:

Gassho,
Seishin.
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Re: The concept of being already perfect

Postby Queequeg » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:36 pm

Hi All,

I am not quite sure that sugatagarbha/tathagatagarbha quite means a priori perfection. I believe those terms refer to potential for perfection.

Buddha-nature (buddhadhatu) might be the term AL is looking for.

I can only say with some familiarity with the Tientai interpretation - but because we all abide in the Buddha dharma realm, whether enlightened or not, we are by definition, in some sense, manifestations of the Buddha as we are - even as we suffer as deluded beings. From this perspective, even our suffering is the unending expression of Buddhahood, and Buddhahood is the expression of healing the suffering of the world in a perpetual process of universal enlightenment.

Bob Thurman tells a story he calls the Long Tale - Nayutas of kalpas in the future when each of us finally attains annuttara samyak sambodhi, we will look back on our past lives and see that at each and every moment in the unending string of moments leading to that awakening, we will realize that we had been enlightened all along. I think that is a variation on the basic concept.

In Japanese Buddhism, a concept called Hongaku - Original Enlightenment - developed in the medieval period under the influence of Tientai and Esoteric influences, which takes the assumption of already perfectly enlightened. It tended to corruption and degraded to the point people thought practice and effort for enlightenment were no longer necessary.

Pitfalls of dumbing down this very potent teaching.
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Re: The concept of being already perfect

Postby Seishin » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:44 pm

Queequeg wrote:Pitfalls of dumbing down this very potent teaching.


Quite :good:
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Re: The concept of being already perfect

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:19 pm

Queequeg wrote:Hi All,

I am not quite sure that sugatagarbha/tathagatagarbha quite means a priori perfection. I believe those terms refer to potential for perfection.

Buddha-nature (buddhadhatu) might be the term AL is looking for.
Depends on which school of thought you subscribe to. Some consider it ( a priori) pure and perfect, others consider it as a potential. This is the first time I have seen dhatu translated as "nature", normally it means sphere, matrix or realm.
: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: The concept of being already perfect

Postby Queequeg » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:30 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Queequeg wrote:Hi All,

I am not quite sure that sugatagarbha/tathagatagarbha quite means a priori perfection. I believe those terms refer to potential for perfection.

Buddha-nature (buddhadhatu) might be the term AL is looking for.
Depends on which school of thought you subscribe to. Some consider it ( a priori) pure and perfect, others consider it as a potential. This is the first time I have seen dhatu translated as "nature", normally it means sphere, matrix or realm.
:namaste:


Hi Greg,

You're probably right that it depends on the tradition. I have seen tathagatagarbha and buddha nature used interchangeably, or even the latter as a translation of the former.

Regarding the "nature" translation of "dhatu", it is a peculiar translation. I wonder if "nature" is a twice removed translation of "dhatu" ie. Sanskrit -> Chinese -> English.

Dhatu does seem to fit the Tientai conception of Buddhanature - a rather involved explanation involving what Zhiyi called "mutual possession" of Dharma Realms. Anyway, that's why I premised my response with the lens through which I was approaching the question. Many terms various traditions use in common can have very different meaning.
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Re: The concept of being already perfect

Postby Namgyal » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:13 pm

'All beings are Buddhas but this is concealed by adventitious defilements, when their defilements are purified their Buddhahood is revealed.' [Hevajratantra]
:namaste:
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Re: The concept of being already perfect

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:13 pm

I highly recommend the teachings from the Sublime Continuum/ Uttaratantra Shastra as they elucidate the concept of thatagathagarbha beautifully.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
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Re: The concept of being already perfect

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:19 am

The three kayas are complete, but we are in dualistic vision. Though the ocean is to the left we have the habit of going right. There's nothing in the way except this habit.
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Re: The concept of being already perfect

Postby Karma Dorje » Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:18 am

alwayslearning wrote:Hi - I am pretty new with all this Dharma stuff. Can someone tell me if there is a single term for the conceptual idea that we are already perfect, already pure, already liberated as beings?


For most practitioners, the technical term for this is "hubris".
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Re: The concept of being already perfect

Postby randomseb » Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:33 pm

The sky is perceptually empty, but then a thick cloud layers rolls in, and it appears that the sky is now covered in clouds.. But as we all know from the existence of aircraft, the clouds are actually insubstantial accumulations of humidity and such, just a more dense version of air. Air is air, whether it looks like clouds or the empty sky, right?

So it is with your nature, although it appears that you are you, with a human's share of ego and memory and whatnot, riding in some body in some physical world. We're so busy watching the clouds that we don't pay attention to the sky!
Disclaimer: If I have posted about something, then I obviously have no idea what I am talking about!
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Re: The concept of being already perfect

Postby T. Chokyi » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:55 am

alwayslearning wrote:Hi - I am pretty new with all this Dharma stuff. Can someone tell me if there is a single term for the conceptual idea that we are already perfect, already pure, already liberated as beings?


Dzogchen teachings have a term, in Tibetan its "kadag" which means pure from the beginning: "primordial purity".
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Re: The concept of being already perfect

Postby rachmiel » Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:54 pm

alwayslearning wrote:Can someone tell me if there is a single term for the conceptual idea that we are already perfect, already pure, already liberated as beings?

Fairy tale?

We might be pure freedom on the absolute level (if it exists). But, alas, we live on the relative level, don't we? Got these body things that age and decay, got emotions and desires that make us (literally) crazy, got dukkha up the wazoo.

Plenty of religions have a term for that which is beyond all hope of naming/fathoming. What good does it do to know it?
No one really knows anything. (I think.)
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