Contradiction on Original Nature - Question

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Contradiction on Original Nature - Question

Postby Nosta » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:57 pm

There is a point in Buddhism that i still not understand and cannot be sure if, due to my bad english, i am able to tell you correctly my question.

But, here goes:
If Nibanna is our "original nature" how can we explain that we are not Nibanna since always? Another wa to point my question: if Nibanna is pefection, how is that such perfecton is not all over all beings? Wouldnt be logical to say that such great perfection is the natural state of everything, since always? A perfection that is attained is like a single point and not a supreme thing. If Nibbana is the original nature - and that means the first nature - how could we have descended into the ugly state of samsara?

I mademany questionsbut in fact they are all the same faces of the same question.

Thanks for answering.
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Re: Contraction on Original Nature - Question

Postby ronnewmexico » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:31 pm

I am just a uneducated layperson but there are no replies so I will venture one.

We are always in a state of perfection. So yes in the begining we were perfect and we remain so.
Our suffering is not seeing things as they are, the remedy is not found in changing things to how we think they should be. We cannot invent perfection.
Our ignorance causes this veil on everything making it not what it is in essence...prefect and as it should be.

The mechanixm...it is thought not being satisfied with our awarness without concept arises from a type of loniness or fear....we are alone. Suchly we reinitiate the 12 links with every death and rebirth.
Till perhaps with understanding things, we may see we are never alone our aware aspect is multiplicity itself and no barrier exists....so we do not rebirth when fully convinced. When not convinced we create concept self other like dislike and all the consequences of that. It is all perfection just cloaked in ignorance made real or solid,what is not solid or real.

The particular....I have heard the particular presentation is due to our overemphesizing the aware aspect of things to the disregard of the empty aspect of things. So we create this prision of solid.Things are not that way...they just seem that way. All is fluid and energy tranferance seemingly. So again...it is perfect right here and now. We create this perceptive fault, not reality. Hence why enlightened beings have no such constraints as the physical if they desire to have none. Some may to express point to others in the prision to appear a prisioner but they are not.

That is one way of this thing I have heard it to be not to state it is better than any other, but that to my personal opinion is the way of this thing.
Last edited by ronnewmexico on Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Contraction on Original Nature - Question

Postby catmoon » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:32 pm

Nosta wrote:There is a point in Buddhism that i still not understand and cannot be sure if, due to my bad english, i am able to tell you correctly my question.

But, here goes:
If Nibanna is our "original nature" how can we explain that we are not Nibanna since always? Another wa to point my question: if Nibanna is pefection, how is that such perfecton is not all over all beings? Wouldnt be logical to say that such great perfection is the natural state of everything, since always? A perfection that is attained is like a single point and not a supreme thing. If Nibbana is the original nature - and that means the first nature - how could we have descended into the ugly state of samsara?

I mademany questionsbut in fact they are all the same faces of the same question.

Thanks for answering.



The only way out that I can see is to think that our obscurations are just as old as our original nature.
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Re: Contraction on Original Nature - Question

Postby Nosta » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:07 pm

SORRY guys

The original title should be CONTRADICTION and not CONTRACTION

lol

Can any moderator correct that for me?? thanks :-)
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Re: Contraction on Original Nature - Question

Postby 5heaps » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:32 pm

Nosta wrote:If Nibanna is our "original nature" how can we explain that we are not Nibanna since always?

because it is not ascertained, and there is active misunderstanding.

active misunderstanding enables the root destructive mental factors. although mind itself is not harmed it is less and less capable of ascertaining anything subtle due to the blockage of negatives mental factors sustained by negative actions.
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Re: Contraction on Original Nature - Question

Postby neverdowell » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:36 am

Good question, I don't claim to have the answer but this may be relevant, it's from Lojong:

Don't worry – there's nothing real about your confusion.

To develop bodhichitta, which is the actual practice, you need to develop such compassion that you simply cannot bear others being tormented by suffering. But in order to develop this compassion, you must know exactly how you yourself are plagued by suffering. And you must understand that the whole of samsara is by nature suffering. But first you must fear the lower realms, for without this you will have no repudiation of celestial and human happiness. You must therefore train your mind in the small- and medium- scope parts of the path. -- Pabongka Rinpoche
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Re: Contradiction on Original Nature - Question

Postby Astus » Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:29 pm

Nirvana being the original nature doesn't mean that in the beginning everything was nirvana which then turned into samsara. It means that without attachment there is nirvana and nirvana is not something created by practice, rather practice is removing hindrances. It's like saying that the original nature of the floor is clean, so if you clear up you get it in its original nature.
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Does marvelous nature and spirit
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This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Contradiction on Original Nature - Question

Postby Nosta » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:11 pm

Thanks for the answers so far.


Astus, good point. Nice analogy.

Even so, i would like to learn more about my questions. Where could i find more about it?
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Re: Contradiction on Original Nature - Question

Postby Astus » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:58 pm

Depends on what you're looking for. Is it buddha-nature you're interested in? If so, there are translations with commentaries of the Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra, aka Ratnagotravibhaga which is a long treatise in verse form on buddha-nature. You can find sutras on it, like the Nirvana Sutra and the Srimaladevi Sutra. There are teachings on it from specific traditions like Mahamudra and Zen. The topic is really vast. If it is totally new to you I recommend Paul Williams' book "Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations" and it has a whole chapter on Tathagatagarbha, among other things. Perhaps you better go through the whole book.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Contradiction on Original Nature - Question

Postby SonamZangpo » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:04 am

Also something to keep in mind that across the Vehicles, this varies.

Someone PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm attempting to remember something I heard a long time ago but didn't read, which is that in some forms of Buddhism we start out as mundane, non-buddhas and then create our Enlightenment (I believe this is Hinayana). However, what you refer to is the mahayana vajrayana concept of Buddha Nature, such that we are just buddhas that haven't realized it yet. In response to this question, I'm going to give the lame, cookie cutter response to these kind of questions from the vajrayana point of view- You are viewing things in a dualistic sense. Without getting much into that (since I lack concrete knowledge on it), I'll say that the enlightened mind permeates all things, that no thing is separate from it, and that no things are separate from each other. This is all perception.
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Re: Contradiction on Original Nature - Question

Postby Astus » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:33 am

SonamZangpo,

The buddha-nature teaching is one of the many teachings in Mahayana but not a teaching universally accepted by all Mahayana traditions. Also, we all start as deluded beings on the path. If that were not the case there would be no need for a path.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Contradiction on Original Nature - Question

Postby Indrajala » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:01 am

Using the word "original" is misleading.

It assumes that at one point Nirvana was the initial state and that samsara arouse from it.

That is entirely false of course.

I recommend saying "fundamental" instead.
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Re: Contradiction on Original Nature - Question

Postby Nosta » Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:18 pm

So, "orginal" here means "fundamental" or "the real nature". Maybe the problem is a language problem.


Why not every buddhist school accepts the original nature concept? Isnt that concept just the same as Nirvana? Or, at least, Original Nature means something like "There is Nirvana, thats something we can «reach»". And thats the view of all schools, so i dont see why not every school wont accept the O.Nature idea. Whats wrong with my arguments?

What about people here? Do you accept that concept?
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Re: Contradiction on Original Nature - Question

Postby SonamZangpo » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:42 pm

Astus wrote:SonamZangpo,

Also, we all start as deluded beings on the path. If that were not the case there would be no need for a path.



What I meant is that the Buddha consciousness is universal, primordial. Our consciousness is made of the stuffs of that, but then deluded by karmic perception. In this way I mean we are already Enlightened, but made ignorant by our perceptions and must realize it.
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(I acknowledge I do not follow the quote above this, that is why it is there! so I will be reminded every time I post! :) )
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Re: Contradiction on Original Nature - Question

Postby Astus » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:07 am

Nosta,

The teaching of original nature (benxing 本性) is not the same as the teaching of nirvana. First, nirvana is one of the core teachings of Buddhism while original nature is itself a Chinese term we can connect to the teaching of tathagatagarbha, and tathagatagarbha is something we find only in specific Mahayana sutras. Understandably, non-Mahayana schools never even had the concept of original nature and even in Mahayana it was something only a few traditions took up. And here is the second reason, that original nature doesn't necessarily fit into the teachings of a tradition. For instance, both Madhyamaka and Yogacara - the two main systems of Mahayana - has teachings contradicting the idea of an original nature. Or, even when in some cases teachers of those schools accepted tathagatagarbha, they came up with their own interpretation of it. It was in Chinese Buddhism that because of these reasons they actually said that besides Madhyamaka and Yogacara there is a third major Mahayana thought, Tathagatagarbhavada, i.e. those who take original nature as a fundamental teaching.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Contradiction on Original Nature - Question

Postby Astus » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:15 am

SonamZangpo wrote:What I meant is that the Buddha consciousness is universal, primordial. Our consciousness is made of the stuffs of that, but then deluded by karmic perception. In this way I mean we are already Enlightened, but made ignorant by our perceptions and must realize it.


Let's say I have a load of money in the bank. But first I have to work for years in order to earn the money and be able to use it. Isn't that the same as if I had no money but got a regular salary from someone else? That's how the idea that there is a buddha-nature hidden somewhere is redundant and good only for giving hope to those full of fears. This is called expedient means in Buddhism. You can find a similar explanation in the Lankavatara Sutra, how buddha-nature teaching is for those who fear losing their selves. I'm not saying that there is no other use of the buddha-nature teaching, but on the level that "it is there, you just have to polish it" is nothing but a good sounding promise without any practical relevance.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Contradiction on Original Nature - Question

Postby Huifeng » Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:03 am

Huseng wrote:Using the word "original" is misleading.

It assumes that at one point Nirvana was the initial state and that samsara arouse from it.

That is entirely false of course.

I recommend saying "fundamental" instead.


Yes, this problem happens a lot from wrong translation of the Chinese term 本, which many take as some sort of "temporal starting point" or the like, when in many (but not all) cases it is more like "essential" or "fundamental". (Or in Skt, prakrti rather than purva, both often translated into Chinese as 本.)
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Re: Contradiction on Original Nature - Question

Postby Nosta » Tue Oct 05, 2010 2:36 pm

Astus, it seems that you dont see such teaching (O.Nature) as very useful.

Also, i would say thats a shame that some teachings may not be real Buddha teachings (like that one from O.Nature and maybe Amithabba existence) because they just appeared after Buddha death.
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Re: Contradiction on Original Nature - Question

Postby BFS » Tue Oct 05, 2010 2:53 pm

Some teachings on Buddha Nature by His Holiness the Dalai Lama:
"Within the Mahayana, the term buddha nature has different shades of meaning. In the Mind-only school, buddha nature refers to our fundamental uncontaminated mind that, when untapped, is said to be our "naturally abiding' buddha nature, and when awakened is said to be our 'transformed' buddha nature. This naturally abiding buddha nature is also known as natural nirava, or natural liberation, for it exists naturally in all of us. It is because of the presence of this natural nirvana that the pollutants obscuring its expression are said to be separable from the essential nature of the mind, making enlightenment possible. In the Middle Way School, buddha nature is defined differently: it is defined in terms of emptiness, specifically, the mind's emptiness of intrinsic existence. This is also called the Clear- light nature of the mind."


See more in The Essence of the Heart Sutra - Heart of the Wisdom Teachings by The Dalai Lama.

And from Beyond Dogma - His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Q: How did illusion begin?

His Holiness the Dalai Lama: As the continuum of the mind has no beginning, ignorance does not have one either. If it did, we would have to discover from within a state of consciousness that predates ignorance and is different from it in an enlightened mind, -- a cause resulting in ignorance. This makes no sense.
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Re: Contradiction on Original Nature - Question

Postby Astus » Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:16 pm

Nosta wrote:Astus, it seems that you dont see such teaching (O.Nature) as very useful.

Also, i would say thats a shame that some teachings may not be real Buddha teachings (like that one from O.Nature and maybe Amithabba existence) because they just appeared after Buddha death.


The teaching or original nature has many uses and an important part of Mahyana. But it is important to understand it according to its different meanings in different traditions. Saying generally that there is some essential enlightenment in all of us can be very misleading. Personally, as someone who takes Chan as his primary school, I regard buddha-nature as the crucial doctrine of Buddhism. Nevertheless, one should be first clear about the elementary teachings before making hasty interpretations of what original nature means. By the way, history and religious doctrine are two separate areas of study. If you want to take Mahayana as your path you will see how Amita Buddha is absolutely real.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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