Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Karma Dorje » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:02 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Astus wrote:
rachmiel wrote:Are Advaita and Buddhism talking about the same thing here -- i.e. does pure awareness = vijnana -- but interpreting this thing radically differently?
Is there a Buddhist equivalent to Advaita's pure awareness / brahman?
Is there any ultimate substrate/reality in Buddhism? Or does Buddhism see "what is" as just a buncha ever-changing impermanent stuff in a grand web of inter-dependence?


1, Advaita thinks consciousness (vijnana) is/has an eternal part. Buddhism refutes it.
2. No, otherwise they'd be the same doctrine using different words.
3. Buddhism teaches interdependence.

Nothing I have read here ( or on similar threads elsewhere ) advances the debate beyond Astus's reply on the very first page.

:namaste:


Sure there has been, yet you don't accept it. Why not stop being disingenuous and say instead that nothing will dissuade you from your pre-established viewpoint?

Astus' points are by turns wrong and fallacious. Advaita does not accept that vijnana has an eternal part (see: ajativada) and in fact refutes such a consciousness by the same analytical methods. There is *no* difference between the unborn in Gaudapada's advaita and the unborn in any Buddhist teaching (that isn't merely disguised nihilism). Point two is circular reasoning. And Buddhism teaches interdependence when discussing apparent reality. Tathagathagarbha itself is *never* viewed as interdependent.

If you really have nothing to contribute to the discussion than smug dismissals, what's the point of entering the discussion?
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Karma Dorje » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:03 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:Or you could say, the ordinary trajectory is that chauvinists continue to cling to the view that only their philosophical viewpoint is correct in the whole wide universe.
No, the "trajectory" which seems to be being expressed here is that the two views differ on some details, ie that they are not identical, as some would have us believe. I have not seen all that many instances of people espousing their view as "correct" and other's view as "wrong".


I agree, Greg. Most people in this discussion have indeed been discussing this in good faith.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Simon E. » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:40 pm

You are correct Karma Dorje, There was no point in my entering the discussion.

:namaste:
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Karma Dorje » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:48 pm

Simon E. wrote:You are correct Karma Dorje, There was no point in my entering the discussion.

:namaste:


I am happy we can agree on something.

:namaste:
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Yudron » Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:54 pm

[quote="monktastic" But is it really more consistent? I shouldn't post the same snippet for the fifth time, where a semi-canonical Mahayana scripture describes Tathata / Dharmata as immutable, eternal, blissful, "resting simply in its own being," and (just in case they didn't drive the point home) "[possessing] all these attributes." When you're forced to describe something ineffable -- which even Buddhists get lured into sometimes -- there's no choice but to occasionally contradict yourself.
[/quote]


I'd like to interject that this is a translation -- as best I can tell via Chinese. I can't read Chinese, but if it were in Tibetan (especially if it was not translated recently) I would go back to the original and probably find something completely different. Particularly "it's own being" would make me skeptical about the translation.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby monktastic » Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:42 pm

Yudron wrote:I'd like to interject that this is a translation -- as best I can tell via Chinese. I can't read Chinese, but if it were in Tibetan (especially if it was not translated recently) I would go back to the original and probably find something completely different. Particularly "it's own being" would make me skeptical about the translation.


Cool. It would be great if anyone on this board were able to offer a different translation of Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana. I wonder how far off from "eternal" or "immutable" they would get.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:06 pm

Can I ask here..why does it matter whether they are "the same" on some ultimate level?

I hear this line of reasoning so often but it is a nonsensical one to me. Unless there are some fully enlightened beings posting on here, no one actually knows whether they are "the same" in result or not, the best we have to go on is doctrine and concepts taught, which clearly differ in some places, while being quite close in others. From a modern perspective there is certainly no need to compete, i'm not sure why this view is labelled as chauvinistic, it just seems patently obvious to me, and not any kind of value judgement at all.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Karma Dorje » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:30 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Can I ask here..why does it matter whether they are "the same" on some ultimate level?

I hear this line of reasoning so often but it is a nonsensical one to me. Unless there are some fully enlightened beings posting on here, no one actually knows whether they are "the same" in result or not, the best we have to go on is doctrine and concepts taught, which clearly differ in some places, while being quite close in others. From a modern perspective there is certainly no need to compete, i'm not sure why this view is labelled as chauvinistic, it just seems patently obvious to me, and not any kind of value judgement at all.


Even if someone was fully enlightened and posting on here, how would one recognize that from their argument? Would they get some sort of special avatar that glows with supernatural light?

One can go on much more than doctrine. One can look to the actual practice, the testimony of enlightened exemplars of the traditions, etc. By and large, Buddhist rarely agree even on their own philosophical viewpoints, let alone with the philosophical viewpoints of others. Yet when one looks to the actual instantiation of the practice in the realized practitioners, there is surprising commonality across traditions. All I would suggest is that this is probably common across all practice based traditions.

Most people here have opinions about Vedanta based on some vague notion that Buddhists are against them rather than actually having read the source texts, received commentary on them from living adherents and actually tried to put these teachings into practice. If one has received instructions from a traditional guru of Shankaradvaita and one has also received instructions from a Dzogchen or Mahamudra master, its simply obvious that there are different flavours but are nearly identical in practice.

Having a prejudicial opinion is what is being referred to as chauvinistic, not the balanced view that you are suggesting.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Simon E. » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:44 pm

Well, waste of time though it is I will drop in to say that I have received teachings from ChNN ( Dzogchen ) and from Thrangu Rinpoche ( Ganges Mahamudra ) on the one hand and from The Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram ( Vedanta ) on the other.
I also as it happens spent time at the Ramanashram.
And as far as I am concerned there are very real differences in the goals of each.
As a matter of fact the Shankaracharya thinks so too , because I asked him.

But what do I know ?
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Karma Dorje » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:42 pm

Simon E. wrote:Well, waste of time though it is I will drop in to say that I have received teachings from ChNN ( Dzogchen ) and from Thrangu Rinpoche ( Ganges Mahamudra ) on the one hand and from The Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram ( Vedanta ) on the other.
I also as it happens spent time at the Ramanashram.
And as far as I am concerned there are very real differences in the goals of each.
As a matter of fact the Shankaracharya thinks so too , because I asked him.

But what do I know ?


What I said is that those three are nearly identical in practice. Did you receive those teachings from the Shankaracharya and put them in practice until you achieved results?

I really couldn't care less what the Shankaracharya of Kanchi thinks of systems he has never studied. I take my queue from those that have practiced both and achieved results in both.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:46 pm

greentara wrote:To exert yourself in religious practice, trying to produce enlightenment by doing
religious practices and zazen, is all wrong too. There's no difference between
the mind of all the buddhas and the Buddha Mind of each one of you. But by
wanting to realise enlightenment, you create a duality between the one who
realises enlightenment and what it is that's being realised. When you cherish
even the smallest desire to realise enlightenment, right away you leave the realm
of the Unborn and go against the Buddha Mind. This Buddha Mind you have from
your parents innately is one alone - not two, not three!

~ Bankei

The Zen masters weren't adverse to distinguishing the views. This was posted before on this forum:

http://books.google.com.sg/books?id=H6A674nlkVEC&pg=PA21&lpg=PA21#v=onepage&q&f=false

Question Ten:

Some have said: Do not concern yourself about birth-and-death. There is a way to promptly rid yourself of birth-and-death. It is by grasping the reason for the eternal immutability of the 'mind-nature.' The gist of it is this: although once the body is born it proceeds inevitably to death, the mind-nature never perishes. Once you can realize that the mind-nature, which does not transmigrate in birth-and-death, exists in your own body, you make it your fundamental nature. Hence the body, being only a temporary form, dies here and is reborn there without end, yet the mind is immutable, unchanging throughout past, present, and future. To know this is to be free from birth-and-death. By realizing this truth, you put a final end to the transmigratory cycle in which you have been turning. When your body dies, you enter the ocean of the original nature. When you return to your origin in this ocean, you become endowed with the wondrous virtue of the Buddha-patriarchs. But even if you are able to grasp this in your present life, because your present physical existence embodies erroneous karma from prior lives, you are not the same as the sages.

"Those who fail to grasp this truth are destined to turn forever in the cycle of birth-and-death. What is necessary, then, is simply to know without delay the meaning of the mind-nature's immutability. What can you expect to gain from idling your entire life away in purposeless sitting?"

What do you think of this statement? Is it essentially in accord with the Way of the Buddhas and patriarchs?



Answer 10:

You have just expounded the view of the Senika heresy. It is certainly not the Buddha Dharma.

According to this heresy, there is in the body a spiritual intelligence. As occasions arise this intelligence readily discriminates likes and dislikes and pros and cons, feels pain and irritation, and experiences suffering and pleasure - it is all owing to this spiritual intelligence. But when the body perishes, this spiritual intelligence separates from the body and is reborn in another place. While it seems to perish here, it has life elsewhere, and thus is immutable and imperishable. Such is the standpoint of the Senika heresy.

But to learn this view and try to pass it off as the Buddha Dharma is more foolish than clutching a piece of broken roof tile supposing it to be a golden jewel. Nothing could compare with such a foolish, lamentable delusion. Hui-chung of the T'ang dynasty warned strongly against it. Is it not senseless to take this false view - that the mind abides and the form perishes - and equate it to the wondrous Dharma of the Buddhas; to think, while thus creating the fundamental cause of birth-and-death, that you are freed from birth-and-death? How deplorable! Just know it for a false, non-Buddhist view, and do not lend a ear to it.

I am compelled by the nature of the matter, and more by a sense of compassion, to try to deliver you from this false view. You must know that the Buddha Dharma preaches as a matter of course that body and mind are one and the same, that the essence and the form are not two. This is understood both in India and in China, so there can be no doubt about it. Need I add that the Buddhist doctrine of immutability teaches that all things are immutable, without any differentiation between body and mind. The Buddhist teaching of mutability states that all things are mutable, without any differentiation between essence and form. In view of this, how can anyone state that the body perishes and the mind abides? It would be contrary to the true Dharma.

Beyond this, you must also come to fully realize that birth-and-death is in and of itself nirvana. Buddhism never speaks of nirvana apart from birth-and-death. Indeed, when someone thinks that the mind, apart from the body, is immutable, not only does he mistake it for Buddha-wisdom, which is free from birth-and-death, but the very mind that makes such a discrimination is not immutable, is in fact even then turning in birth-and-death. A hopeless situation, is it not?

You should ponder this deeply: since the Buddha Dharma has always maintained the oneness of body and mind, why, if the body is born and perishes, would the mind alone, separated from the body, not be born and die as well? If at one time body and mind were one, and at another time not one, the preaching of the Buddha would be empty and untrue. Moreover, in thinking that birth-and-death is something we should turn from, you make the mistake of rejecting the Buddha Dharma itself. You must guard against such thinking.

Understand that what Buddhists call the Buddhist doctrine of the mind-nature, the great and universal aspect encompassing all phenomena, embraces the entire universe, without differentiating between essence and form, or concerning itself with birth or death. There is nothing - enlightenment and nirvana included - that is not the mind-nature. All dharmas, the "myriad forms dense and close" of the universe - are alike in being this one Mind. All are included without exception. All those dharmas, which serves as "gates" or entrances to the Way, are the same as one Mind. For a Buddhist to preach that there is no disparity between these dharma-gates indicates that he understands the mind-nature.

In this one Dharma [one Mind], how could there be any differentiate between body and mind, any separation of birth-and-death and nirvana? We are all originally children of the Buddha, we should not listen to madmen who spout non-Buddhist views.


Of course, Zen has koans which can lead one to certain realizations such as the experience of the "I AM," that Maharshi and Nisargadatta talk about (e.g. What was your original face before you were born?)
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:12 pm

monktastic wrote:Yeah, that's fair. I'd also be crazy to say I know they're the same. It's more like: if you give me a criticism that one levels at the other (specifically between Advaita and Mahayana), I usually seem to be able to find a quote where the first claims pretty much the very thing they're criticizing in the other. In the end, both seem pretty confident that you should pick one path and see it through. In this way, one is probably better off understanding them as incompatible paths. Less temptation to jump tracks half-way through :)

You know, I've heard it said: People can have a genuine glimpse of enlightenment many times in their life, but not realize it. The analogy of the blind cat, bumping into the blind rat comes to mind.

Anyways, a lot of the times I've seen people arguing that 'all paths lead to the same goal,' are usually the inexperienced. It is very common in the spiritual field, to come across people who have experience of the "I AM." It is much, much more common to come across people who have realized Brahman, than an individual who has genuinely realized anatta. It is very, very uncommon to come across an individual who has realization of emptiness. Believe it or not, there are individuals who post in some online communities made up of Buddhist practitioners, who really have experienced the difference between the realization of Atman/Brahman and anatta. Those are the people who have proven Shakyamuni's teachings for themselves and don't mind discussing the differences with other like-minded practitioners.

I think it's better to view the differences as a progression in the path, instead of disregarding it completely. The equality of the 'One Vehicle' in the Lotus Sutra comes to mind, in seeing all paths as progressing towards buddhahood. Also, I don't think realization should necessarily be looked at as a linear progression: Where one realization is 'higher' than the other, but as different aspects of the nature of mind.

At the same time, I think we should remember the conditions which have led us to coming across the buddhadharma, by remembering that this is a path to be followed in the long haul. That progression can extend into multiple lifetimes (if the individual believes that rebirth is a possibility and doesn't already have direct experience of it.)

EDIT: Sentence structure(s)
Last edited by Lotus_Bitch on Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Simon E. » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:27 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:
Simon E. wrote:Well, waste of time though it is I will drop in to say that I have received teachings from ChNN ( Dzogchen ) and from Thrangu Rinpoche ( Ganges Mahamudra ) on the one hand and from The Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram ( Vedanta ) on the other.
I also as it happens spent time at the Ramanashram.
And as far as I am concerned there are very real differences in the goals of each.
As a matter of fact the Shankaracharya thinks so too , because I asked him.

But what do I know ?


What I said is that those three are nearly identical in practice. Did you receive those teachings from the Shankaracharya and put them in practice until you achieved results?

I really couldn't care less what the Shankaracharya of Kanchi thinks of systems he has never studied. I take my queue from those that have practiced both and achieved results in both.

Yes I did. I have never developed an interest in the theoretical.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby monktastic » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:40 pm

Lotus_Bitch wrote: Believe it or not, there are actually some online communities of Buddhist practitioners, who really have experienced the difference between the realization of Atman/Brahman and anatta. Those are the people who have proven Shakyamuni's teachings for themselves and don't mind discussing the differences with other like-minded practitioners.


Entire communities of people who have completely mastered the Advaita path, as well as making lots of progress on the Buddhist one? Do you have evidence of this? Do they?

It is much more common to come across people who have realized Brahman, than someone who has genuinely realized anatta.


I don't get it. How would you know if you came across one or the other?

Anyways, a lot of the times I've seen people arguing that 'all paths lead to the same goal,' are usually the inexperienced.


Cool. If it turns out they do (or at least these two do) lead to the same goal, I guess they'll be vindicated ;)
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Karma Dorje » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:06 pm

Lotus_Bitch wrote:
monktastic wrote:You know, I've heard it said: People can have a genuine glimpse of enlightenment many times in their life, but not realize it. The analogy of the blind cat, bumping into the blind rat comes to mind.

Anyways, a lot of the times I've seen people arguing that 'all paths lead to the same goal,' are usually the inexperienced. It is very common in the spiritual field, to come across people who have experience of the "I AM." It is much, much more common to come across people who have realized Brahman, than an individual who has genuinely realized anatta. It is very, very uncommon to come across an individual who has realization of emptiness. Believe it or not, there are individuals who post in some online communities made up of Buddhist practitioners, who really have experienced the difference between the realization of Atman/Brahman and anatta. Those are the people who have proven Shakyamuni's teachings for themselves and don't mind discussing the differences with other like-minded practitioners.

I think it's better to view the differences as a progression in the path, instead of disregarding it completely. The equality of the 'One Vehicle' in the Lotus Sutra comes to mind, in seeing all paths as progressing towards buddhahood. Also, I don't think realization should necessarily be looked at as a linear progression: Where one realization is 'higher' than the other, but as different aspects of the nature of mind.

At the same time, I think we should remember the conditions which have led us to coming across the buddhadharma, by remembering that this is a path to be followed in the long haul. That progression can extend into multiple lifetimes (if the individual believes that rebirth is a possibility and doesn't already have direct experience of it.)


I don't disagree with you that there is a progression on the path but I don't think it is at all as common for people to realize nirguna Brahman as you suggest. If you live in a place where it is common for people to sit in nirvikalpa samadhi, please tell me where this is! It must be a wonderful, holy place that I would dearly love to raise my family in. It is certainly true that some people have a momentary recognition of awareness and think they have fully arrived. This is as true amongst the so-called Dzogchenpas that loudly proclaim that karma doesn't apply, everything is pure and ngondro is for the plebian masses as among the dimestore neo-advaitins on Youtube. However, this is just exhilaration with a meditation experience and not genuine realization.

Where I think there are distinct differences:

a) the teachings on relative bodhicitta, while not absent are not at all developed in advaita sadhana;
b) the teaching on integrating with the elements dont exist at all (though some advanced Sri Vidya practitioners *may* intuit some of these techniques as their realization deepens. Who knows?)

So I would say that in any of these systems, the Dharmakaya can be realized through wholehearted application but advaita practitioners will have much greater difficulty in manifesting the form bodies. It is for these two reasons that I think that the Vajrayana dharma is superior.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby monktastic » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:37 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:
Lotus_Bitch wrote:
monktastic wrote:You know, I've heard it said


You say she says I said... :) (What you posted is from her, not me).
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One will understand it in due course.

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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:55 pm

monktastic wrote:
Entire communities of people who have completely mastered the Advaita path, as well as making lots of progress on the Buddhist one? Do you have evidence of this? Do they?

It is much more common to come across people who have realized Brahman, than someone who has genuinely realized anatta.


I don't get it. How would you know if you came across one or the other?

Anyways, a lot of the times I've seen people arguing that 'all paths lead to the same goal,' are usually the inexperienced.


Cool. If it turns out they do (or at least these two do) lead to the same goal, I guess they'll be vindicated ;)

I went back and edited my post. NOT entire communities, but INDIVIDUALS who have posted within these forums have experience with both. Dharmaoverground is one such forum. I do not post in these forums by the way.



Anyways, just to add to the general discussion: Just because you prescribe to Buddhism, doesn't mean that you can't study other paths or use their methods. I see no reason for someone to limit themselves in such a way.

Also, check out the 10 Ox Herding Pictures. That's another example of someone describing the stages of insights from this sect.
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:10 am

monktastic wrote:
But is it really more consistent? I shouldn't post the same snippet for the fifth time, where a semi-canonical Mahayana scripture describes Tathata / Dharmata as immutable, eternal, blissful, "resting simply in its own being," and (just in case they didn't drive the point home) "[possessing] all these attributes." When you're forced to describe something ineffable -- which even Buddhists get lured into sometimes -- there's no choice but to occasionally contradict yourself.

I suspect this is why Rumi used poetry. Less risky still would be interpretive dance :tongue:

Who translated it?
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:26 am

Karma Dorje wrote: Tathagathagarbha itself is *never* viewed as interdependent.

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=4056

coldmountain: "I'd like to ask for some thoughts regarding the idea of Buddha-nature in some Buddhist schools, and whether there is any meaningful difference Buddha-nature and Hinduism's atman...."

Astus: "The difference in brief. Those who believe there is an actor behind action think there is a self/soul. Those who realise that the mind is empty, without a self, understand that it is buddha-nature."

Malcolm: "Paradoxically, in Tathāgatagarbha literature, that mind that lacks identity and is empty is being called "self". It is standard Buddhist subversion of Hindu norms, once again. The Tantras do it with Samkhya."

Coldmountain: "What, then, is Buddha-nature? Is it an unconditioned substance? Does it exist independently of change and plurality?"

Malcolm: "Nope, not an unconditioned _substance_."

coldmountain wrote:
To what does the term refer to, then? I'm not clear how a belief in an unconditioned, immutable anything fits with the teaching of conditioned-arising.

Malcolms response: That depends on who you ask. In Tibetan Buddhism, according to the Sakya school, tathāgatagarbha is the union of the clarity and emptiness of one's mind. According to the Gelugpa school, it is the potential for sentient beings to awaken since they lack inherent existence; according to the Jonang school, it refers to the innate qualities of the mind which expresses itself in terms of omniscience, etc, when adventitious obscurations are removed. In Nyingma, tathāgatagarbha also generally refers to union of the clarity and emptiness of one's mind.

There is only one Indian commentary on this issue -- the Uttaratantra and its commentary by Asanga.

Xabir: "Similarly, that tathaagatagarbha taught in the suutras spoken by the Bhagavan, since the completely pure luminous clear nature is completely pure from the beginning, possessing the thirty two marks, the Bhagavan said it exists inside of the bodies of sentient beings.

When the Bhagavan described that– like an extremely valuable jewel thoroughly wrapped in a soiled cloth, is thoroughly wrapped by cloth of the aggregates, aayatanas and elements, becoming impure by the conceptuality of the thorough conceptuality suppressed by the passion, anger and ignorance – as permanent, stable and eternal, how is the Bhagavan’s teaching this as the tathaagatagarbha is not similar with as the assertion of self of the non-Buddhists?

Bhagavan, the non-Buddhists make assertion a Self as “A permanent creator, without qualities, pervasive and imperishable”.

The Bhagavan replied:

“Mahaamati, my teaching of tathaagatagarbha is not equivalent with the assertion of the Self of the non-Buddhists.

Mahaamati, the Tathaagata, Arhat, Samyak Sambuddhas, having demonstrated the meaning of the words "emptiness, reality limit, nirvana, non-arisen, signless", etc. as tathaagatagarbha for the purpose of the immature complete forsaking the perishable abodes, demonstrate the expertiential range of the non-appearing abode of complete non-conceptuality by demonstrating the door of tathaagatagarbha.

Mahaamati, a self should not be perceived as real by Bodhisattva Mahaasattvas enlightened in the future or presently.

Mahaamati, for example, a potter, makes one mass of atoms of clay into various kinds containers from his hands, craft, a stick, thread and effort.

Mahaamati, similarly, although Tathaagatas avoid the nature of conceptual selflessness in dharmas, they also appropriately demonstrate tathaagatagarbha or demonstrate emptiness by various kinds [of demonstrations] possessing prajñaa and skillful means; like a potter, they demonstrate with various enumerations of words and letters. As such, because of that,

Mahaamati, the demonstration of Tathaagatagarbha is not similar with the Self demonstrated by the non-Buddhists.

Mahaamati, the Tathaagatas as such, in order to guide those grasping to assertions of the Self of the Non-Buddhists, will demonstrate tathaagatagarbha with the demonstration of tathaagatagarbha. How else will the sentient beings who have fallen into a conceptual view of a True Self, possess the thought to abide in the three liberations and quickly attain the complete manifestation of Buddha in unsurpassed perfect, complete enlightenment?"

~ Lankavatara Sutra

..............

(33) Further, in his practice of samadhi, such a good person's mind is firm, unmoving, and proper and can no longer be disturbed by demons. He can thoroughly investigate the origin of all categories of beings and contemplate the source of the subtle, fleeting, and constant fluctuation. But if he begins to speculate about self and others, he could fall into error with theories of partial impermanence and partial permanence based on four distorted views.

First, as this person contemplates the wonderfully bright mind pervading the ten directions, he concludes that this state of profound stillness is the ultimate spiritual self. Then he speculates, "My spiritual self, which is settled, bright, and unmoving, pervades the ten directions. All living beings are within my mind, and there they are born and die by themselves. Therefore, my mind is permanent, while those who undergo birth and death there are truly impermanent."

......

Because of these speculations of impermanence and permanence, he will fall into externalism and become confused about the Bodhi nature. This is the third externalist teaching, in which one postulates partial permanence.

~ Shurangama Sutra
Many meditators know how to meditate,
But only a few know how to dismantle [mental clinging].
- Je Gyare
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Re: Advaitin vs. Buddhist takes on awareness/reality

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:33 am

monktastic wrote:
Yudron wrote:I'd like to interject that this is a translation -- as best I can tell via Chinese. I can't read Chinese, but if it were in Tibetan (especially if it was not translated recently) I would go back to the original and probably find something completely different. Particularly "it's own being" would make me skeptical about the translation.


Cool. It would be great if anyone on this board were able to offer a different translation of Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana. I wonder how far off from "eternal" or "immutable" they would get.

You people really need to learn to use the search function:

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=4056&start=20

Jikan wrote: I think the kinds of trends Namdrol is referring to as eternalism in Sino-Japanese Buddhism can be seen in the Tendai doctrine of hongaku shiso, where Tathagathagarbha is understood not as a potential for awakening as in the Indic tradition, but as always-already Buddha (hongaku shiso is translated as "inherent enlightenment").

http://www.jstor.org/pss/30233979

(it's a dated article but it explains the hongaku concept well)

This concept turns up especially in the rhetorical flourishes of Kamakura Buddhism (eg Nichiren and Dogen).



Said concept of fundamental enlightenment (Jpn. hongaku; Chn. benjue 本覺) appears first the treatise Awakening of Mahāyāna Faith 大乘起信論. It is not strictly a Tendai concept and is actually common to Huayan and some lines of thought in Chan / Zen.

Namdrol: "therefore all things from the beginning transcend all forms of verbalization, description, and conceptualization and are, in the final analysis, undifferentiated, free from alteration, and indestructible. They are only of the One Mind; hence the name Suchness."

As translated, very similar to Advaita.

"But the essence of Suchness itself cannot be put an end to, for all things in their Absolute aspect are real; nor is there anything which needs to be pointed out as real, for all things are equally in the state of Suchness. It should be understood that all things are incapable of being verbally explained or thought of; hence the name Suchness."

As translated, this is a form of realism very similar to Kashmiri Shaivism.

Huseng: I'm looking at the Chinese and that last sentence has an additional part.

《大乘起信論》卷1:「唯是一心故名真如,以一切言說假名無實,但隨妄念不可得故。」(CBETA, T32, no. 1666, p. 576, a12-14)

"They are only just one mind ergo the name suchness because all language and provisional appellations have no reality only accompanying delusional thoughts which are unattainable."

The "they" at the beginning is referring to "all dharmas" (一切法). "Transcend" is also not a good translation for li 離 which just means "apart from".

This is really just a Cittamatra position. Such remarks are made in the context of epistemology and not ontology. Mind here is equated to suchness. Is that really eternalist?


"But the essence of Suchness itself cannot be put an end to, for all things in their Absolute aspect are real; nor is there anything which needs to be pointed out as real, for all things are equally in the state of Suchness. It should be understood that all things are incapable of being verbally explained or thought of; hence the name Suchness."

As translated, this is a form of realism very similar to Kashmiri Shaivism.



《大乘起信論》卷1:「此真如體無有可遣,以一切法悉皆真故;亦無可立,以一切法皆同如故。當知一切法不可說、不可念故,名為真如。」(CBETA, T32, no. 1666, p. 576, a14-18)
[3]極=相【金】。

Unfortunately you are relying on a bad translation.

This line ...

for all things in their Absolute aspect are real



...is an interpretation rather than a translation.

If you look at the Chinese and literally translate it word for word it sounds like this:

以一切法悉皆真故
[instrumental particle] all dharmas entirely all true/real thus

I don't see where the translator got "Absolute aspect" from. This section of the text is talking about how conventional phenomena and the principle behind them complement each other.

Namdrol: As I said, "as translated" --


"all dharmas entirely all true/real thus"

This is definitely off. Not Buddhist.

Huseng: "all dharmas entirely all true/real thus"

That last character reading as "true/real" (zhen 真) might be an abbreviation for zhenru 真如 which is suchness. Given that the sentence pattern here is made up of four-character segments this is probably the case. In Literary Chinese they have a habit of maintaining four-character segments and will abbreviate binomials to make them fit into the sequence. It leads to a lot of confusion as one might imagine.

So it would probably be best read as:

"all dharmas entirely all suchness thus"

Looking at the Chinese a bit closer I'm sure that the zhen 真 here is an abbreviation for zhenru 真如 because in the following sentence you get the other half of the binomial appearing (ru 如).

This section of the text is saying that all dharmas are suchness, therefore they need not be rejected or affirmed (pointed to). They conventionally exist and their conventional existence need not be rejected or affirmed when the principle is understood.

Do you see anything wrong with saying that all dharmas are entirely suchness?

Namdrol: It may be the case that a certain eternalism creeps in at the hands of translators like Suzuki, nevertheless many people read these translations without knowing original language and take them at face value.

Namdrol wrote:
Many people these days in Zen understand terms like "One Mind" exactly in the same sense as Advaita. Which is why we see cross-over teachers like Adyashanti and so on.
Many meditators know how to meditate,
But only a few know how to dismantle [mental clinging].
- Je Gyare
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